The First Estate: Clergy/Government. The Second Estate: Nobility/Wealthy Elite. The Third Estate: Commoners/Workers. The Fourth Estate: Press/Media. The Fifth Estate: Those who aim to keep the other estates in check, recently defined as whistleblowers, watchdogs, citizen journalists . . . and WikiLeaks.
In 2010, a website dedicated to protecting whistleblowers released an avalanche of classified US documents that triggered a new age of high-stakes secrecy and explosive news leaks. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Fifth Estate” reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned this Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.
The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create an online platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations.
But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they find themselves at odds as they struggle with a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?
“The Fifth Estate” is presented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment in association with Participant Media and is produced by Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, with Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”) directing.
“It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it revolutionized the spread of information,” believes director Bill Condon. “With events still unfolding, this film does not aim to be the conclusive statement on the topic. Instead, we set out to create a drama that explores the challenges of transparency and that, we hope, enlivens and enriches the conversations WikiLeaks has provoked.”
The screenplay is by Josh Singer (“Fringe,” “The West Wing”), based on the book “Inside WikiLeaks” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and the Guardian book “WikiLeaks” by David Leigh and Luke Harding.
“The Fifth Estate” also stars Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, with Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney.
Opening soon across the Philippines, “The Fifth Estate” is a DreamWorks Picture distributed by Walt Disney Studios International.