The Fifth Estate Directed by: Bill Condon Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: October 18, 2013
Trailer Score: 7/10
Thoughts by TSR: 2013 sure is shaping up to be a great year for Benedict Cumberbatch. Heck, it's looking to be a good year for Daniel Brühl too, what with Ron Howard's Rush and possibly Anton Corbjin's A Most Wanted Man. Cumberbatch, however, reigns supreme. Star Trek Into Darkness came out earlier this year, but it's what we have to look forward to in the final months that have me really excited. He's lending his voice to the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and that turned up on my most anticipated performances of 2013 list. We'll see him as "Little" Charles Aiken in August: Osage County on Christmas Day. And on October 18 some will have the opportunity to double their Cumberbatch with 12 Years a Slave and The Fifth Estate. This film, in which he plays Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, is probably the Cumberbatch offering I'm least looking forward to, but this solid trailer has me interested.
I'm glad I'd seen photos of Cumberbatch in his Assange getup ahead of time or else I'd probably have spent most of this trailer being very sad. I know that's more or less what Assange looks like, but it takes a moment to adjust to seeing our dear Sherlock looking like him. Beyond that, the performance looks quite strong. While the supporting cast – folks like Brühl, Anthony Mackie, Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, David Thewlis, Melisandre, and Alicia Vikander – doesn't make a huge impression one way or the other, they are all names that help add credibility. The Fifth Estate looks like a well-made, entertaining piece or work by Bill Condon. I do wonder if it's going to end up lionizing Assange. The trailer tells us some call him a visionary, others a traitor. Most of those calling him a traitor are presented in the trailer as being stuffy bureaucratic types, so I'm interested to see if it's a bit more balanced in the finished film. I know where I come down, but a balanced portrayal that opens up some conversation would certainly be ideal.