Marketing for The Fifth Estate, a film about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has begun in earnest with ads recently released that depict Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, with the word “traitor” emblazoned over his face.
The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and with less than a month out to its wide release, Wikileaks has responded to the film’s marketing efforts by releasing the film’s script alongside an in-depth internal memo of their critiques.
From fact checking plot lines found in the script and the movie’s source material to correcting Director Bill Condon’s assertion that Assange’s opinions were based on an early draft of the script- in fact the script made available by Wikileaks was obtained in 2013- the memo covers quite a bit of ground.
In addition to pushback on the argument that Wikileaks has put lives in danger, quoting Defense Secretary Robert Gates to do so, the memo also tackles outright bizarre inaccuracies, excerpted below, that appear to have made it into the film;
- Julian Assange was never in a cult, but THE FIFTH ESTATE claims that he was.
- Julian Assange does not dye or bleach his hair white, as claimed in the film.
- While these interpolations may serve to enhance the dramatic narrative of the film, or to build an enigmatic or interesting central character, they have the effect of further falsely mythologizing a living person as sinister and duplicitous.
Less their review leave any room for doubt – and acknowledging that they weren’t consulted on the making of the film – Wikileaks also tweeted a more concise review; in their words, “it’s bad”.
According to Entertainment Weekly Disney has yet to comment on this development.
For more insight into The Fifth Estate check out this post from Kevin Gosztola written earlier this year.