WikiLeaks, the Movie (Trailer)

Starring Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, The Fifth Estate could powerfully change public opinion when it comes out in October.

Disney's DreamWorks Studios. Benedict Cumberbatch. "Truth, justice, the American way."

Set for October 11 release, The Fifth Estate looks like a must-see for fans of Sherlock and Cumberbatch's 2008 surveillance-state-dystopia serial, The Last Enemy. But the film, which was preemptively denounced as "a massive propaganda attack" by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, could also have a powerful impact on public opinion about WikiLeaks, whistle-blowers, government surveillance activities, and even Edward Snowden. Based on Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website and David Leigh and Luke Harding's WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, the film covers the heady early days of the site and appears from the trailer, which was just released, to cast Assange as a heroic visionary who takes things too far. "You can't change change the world without crashing the system," the movie trailer says. It would seem an apt tagline for Snowden's activities, too -- and a reminder that it's only a matter of time before he also becomes the ripped from the headlines personality at the center of a major film.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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