That’s What They’re Afraid Of

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. But if you give him a mask, he will tell you The Truth.

Conspiracy theories, 9/11, Zeitgeist, political blackmail, murder… How many of you ever glanced over Wikileaks? I see two, I see three. Well, I’ll see all of your hands in the air in 10 minutes.


2012 was a year dominated by political movies and shows. To mention the most known of them, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, they both treat two of the most known secret missions in history, both did in the idea of protecting people and of killing a war criminal. Saving the world, now on Blu-Ray. It was a year in which the government was pretty much praised for being such a good sport and not letting those guys die.

What does 2013 bring? A movie about the millions they killed.

I know my article last night was rather depressing, but it did you good. Cold showers always clean the body and have even treated pneumonia (combine them with warm water or you’ll be treating Australopithecus in their caves). So, to counteract that, here you have what I believe to be the trailer of the week.

Courage is contagious? Well, power is too. And even worse, it’s addictive. Remember Nixon stepping down from his position as president? That was the image of a ruined man. Remember the CIA officers stepping down? You never see them. They either die or they retire. Scandals don’t surface very often among the Secret Services.

What The Fifth Estate does is tell the story of the information war from Wikileaks’ perspective. They are the good guys, the Government is the villain. From this very first trailer, knowing how much of the personal implications will be revealed is still to be guessed. I have not yet read any of the books on WL, but I managed to get my hands on two of them and I’ll be reading them tonight. I cannot say how close they stick to the truth, but all of my American fans will be able to tell me, since you’ve been in the middle of those scandals.

the-fifth-estateFilm-wise, it looks fantastic. It is a very smart and very subtle trailer. I don’t know why it hinted at an affair Julian might have had, but I’ll put that on my yet-incomplete knowledge of his past (nobody puts Ben unbuttoning his shirt and the word “secrets” without suggesting… stuff.) The directing is beautiful and it reminds me a lot of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘s style, with the use of light and shadow and the dark tones of each scene. The realism is gripping and the acting…..

I’ve known Dan Bruhl since Goodbye Lenin! and Joyeux Noel and I loved him in both. He is an extremely talented German actor, with almost a decade of movies behind him. He was also in that little film called Inglorious Bastards. Here, he plays Assange’s friend and partner, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and, from the scenes released, it’s a pretty tensed relationship. The Government cast is perfectly chosen and I was glad to see Carice van Houten outside Game of Thrones.

fifth-estate-trailer-07172013-005855There’s almost no word in the “praise” category left for Ben. Only this. He. Is. Assange. The resemblance and the accent and the movement of the hands and the coordination of each muscle transform Benedict from the man he is into the hacker that brought power to its knees. He is Assange, he breathes him, he acts like him. His speech has so much power, even if his voice lacks Ben’s usual versatility. The trailer may mislead us, of course, since trailers do that usually, but it is amazing how much impact just words have had.

The ego and the pride, the feeling of being invincible… Julian receives all of that. Being hunted and running away for a while, publishing everything in the blink of an eye, revealing things without considering the lives of the informers. All that. Did he care? Was it truth that he wanted? Or power? Just like everyone else, did he want power? Power over the powerful?

cumberbatchEvery look, every touch, every word, they are the words Assange could have said. Ben has been corresponding with him and, even though Julian hated the idea of the movie, he provided Ben with some yet-unknown insight. Wouldn’t you rather have control over it, to know that it is told from your perspective? Ben was right and I hope that they managed to slip as much truth as possible, without threatening any of their lives.

It is a movie that will spark thousands of controversies, people will label it and pin it to a wall. The Oscars might even ignore it or choose to ignore it, despite Ben’s brilliant portrayal or Bill Condon’s beautiful directing. Movies that don’t fit the morals and the politics are ruled out. Discreetly, but they are. Oscar winners are always good, but Oscar nominees aren’t always the best.

bbw04_ucmaaafrrThe thing is…. Bill Condon leads the story rather seamlessly, as far as I can see. The movement of the camera is very natural and the angles are right to the level you feel you are right next to them, like you are an invisible visitor. I always felt that that is what movies should give. You should feel part of it, not just a guy in a chair. You break inside that world. And since the reality of the movie is taken from the reality of our world, it will get even scarier.

Because it is scary. Men who have stopped at nothing to kill innocents will stop at nothing to kill what they believe to be a threat. Dead men do get listened, but living men can talk more than permitted. Assange did more. Assange revealed them. The trailer puts it right. Was he a visionary? Was he a hero? Was he a traitor?

benedict-cumberbatch-channels-wikileaks-founder-in-the-fifth-estateJulian Assange. The name that made the White House’s blood curdle. Don’t think about fear. Those men have more power in the tips of their hair than a Ferrarri in an F1 race. More likely annoyance. Perhaps disgust. But hate and envy over the power that one man had gathered through his reveals. The power that men had granted him. And it was that power that pushed them to fight this new-found V. At the beginning, Wikileaks had been nothing but a little website, which grew into a threat to national security. What that security means to them, I cannot imagine. Because hiding proof that your lot has murdered unarmed men, that wars were waged for nothing, that the Twin Towers may have fallen on purpose is no longer about keeping men safe. You’re keeping nobody safe through lies. Only the real murderers. So, who the hell are the people, if you are protecting a different nation?

What the movie does is remind us that we are not safe. The Snowden scandal was a memento, but this should be a wake-up call. Power resides where men believe it resides and the people of power are the people we chose. And power corrupts.

sherlock-203-23496Wikileaks was and still is a massive power. The people behind it are the Woodward and Bernstein of the modern age. They were not journalists, they were heroes. They dared to reveal secrets that most of us would have burned and buried. Truth is nice, but it hurts and it creates too much mess for us to bother. Comfort has become more important than freedom, it appears.

When it is us. It’s always been about us. That’s who they truly are afraid of.



2 thoughts on “That’s What They’re Afraid Of

  1. Pingback: Toronto through Pictures | Sherlockian Mind

  2. Pingback: Knowing vs Guessing | Sherlockian Mind

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