Condon's absorbing dramatization of the rise and fall of Wikileaks and its fascinating founder Julian Assange takes viewers inside the infamous Wikileaks disclosure of three-quarters of a million classified government documents.
The film also paints a mesmerizing, complex portrait of an embattled new-media luminary in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Detailing WikiLeaks's rise to international notoriety and the subsequent souring of relations between Assange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who recently took a turn as the villainous Khan in "Star Trek into Darkness") and his most trusted lieutenant, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl, also at this year's TIFF in Ron Howard's "Rush").
Drawing on Domscheit-Berg's memoir, Inside WikiLeaks, as well as a 2011 exposé by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding, screenwriter Josh Singer chronicles the friendship that underpinned the whistleblower organization's formative feats of information activism (targeting entities including Swiss private bank Julius Baer, the Church of Scientology, and the British National Party), and would end in acrimonious estrangement following WikiLeaks's un-redacted publication of nearly 750,000 United States military logs and diplomatic cables — the largest leak of official secrets in American history.
Described by TIFF as equal parts "engrossing investigative thriller" and "Shakespearean drama," the film features a masterful performance from Cumberbatch, who portrays Assange as a fiercely intelligent coil of contradictions, tyrannical in his advocacy for transparency, while at once both hubristic and deeply insecure.
Brühl, in turn, contributes an adroit portrayal of conflicted devotion, leading an exceptional supporting cast that also includes Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Mackie, Alicia Vikander, and David Thewlis according to TIFF.
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