Unless you’ve lived the past few years as a single-cell amoeba, then you’re probably already aware of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
If not, then cue the brief overview. Essentially Wikileaks was established as a site for whistle-blowers to publish classified or secret information anonymously that they feel the public need to know about. The lines blur on whether Wikileaks is investigative journalism, guerilla warfare or something else entirely. The development of the site’s fame from a few nerdy, like-minded individuals exposing corruption in Iceland, to its founder Julian Assange becoming an internationally renowned figure, self-imprisoned in an Ecuadorian Embassy in fear of the US Government is really something.
So like any story that gathers a decent amount of attention, the world of Hollywood wants to make some money out of it. Excuse the cynicism in that statement but this Raccoon is wary of the big-budget movie industry’s inability to write an interesting story, but instead their obsession with tinkering with real life events to make them more cinematic.
The Fifth Estate seems to be exactly that.
There is no doubt from the trailer that the film appears to be as sleek and well-shot as you would expect. As well as this, Benedict Cumberbatch makes a convincing Assange, researched in his body language and that Australian-nomad twang in his accent. But the big ‘W’ that sits over this film is not ‘Wikileaks’ but in fact ‘Why?’, as in ‘Why does this film need to be made?’
It’s the same ‘W’ that hovered over The Social Network, a truly hateful film that attempted to turn the birth of Facebook into a cinematic experience. This meant chopping and changing the story as they pleased, inventing characters and dialogue which resulted in the whole story being a completely unlikeable farce. Why did this film need to be made? In order to cash in on the public’s obsession with Facebook.
As is the way of cinematic releases, films on the same subject tend to arrive in pairs. We Steal Secrets, a documentary recently released offers an incredible insight into the Wikileaks saga. With revealing interviews, huge amounts of actual footage and the transcripts of people involved all shown with a cinematic edge, it’s a truly gripping film. Sadly this documentary will no doubt be archived away instead of receiving the mass distribution it deserves, in favour of Sherlock Holmes in a wig.
The film is set to be released this October. But if you’re looking to find out about Julian Assange, you may be better off drawing a lovely picture of him in crayon and addressing it to the Ecuadorian Embassy.