The film The Fifth Estate has been surrounded by controversy basically from the minute it was announced, and it especially flared with the personal note that hit the Internet last week. It chronicles Julian Assange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and the rise (and fall) of WikiLeaks. Many people will have a hard time leaving the theater and not discussing it. There’s just a lot of fodder to come with it, especially since it’s based on real life events.
The movie is The Social Network meets the Bourne movies—lots of technology, friendship strifes, confusion about who to trust and with what information, all while the characters bounce around the world. It’s intense and interesting and most importantly a big role for Benedict. Gone is Sherlock and there’s no Khan in this movie. It’s a new side to Benedict and not just because he has white hair and an Australian accent, but because he does many things we haven’t seen him do on-screen before. Honestly, one of the more exciting aspects of this film is watching him work, quickly switching between a range of emotions.
Here are eight noteworthy things Benedict does in the movie, starting with the most impressive:
1. Move over Tom Cruise in Cocktail, there’s a new bottle handler in town. While they are working during the height of the growing WikiLeaks, Julian is tossed a bottle which he catches and then flips around and catches again. It was really impressive. I know, we’ve all seen people play with bottles and throw them in the air or set them on fire. This is not that elaborate. It was just unexpected and really fun to see a new skill Benedict has, or at least developed for the movie. I’d love to know if it was written in for the character or just him showing off.
2. He wears not one, but count ‘em, TWO backpacks. Yes, Julian is a guy who travels a lot. You need some clothes (and we’ll get to those soon) and other necessary items, but for Julian his trusty computer must come with him to all places. And these are not MacBook Airs, these are chunky computers. Still, balancing more than one backpack on your shoulder is no easy feat.
3. He dances. It’s just fun. Sherlock, Khan, they aren’t bustin’ a move anytime soon. Plus, in the scheme of the movie it’s shocking to see a character like Julian let loose even if just for a moment. Could’ve shown a little more of this and I wouldn’t be mad.
4. He eats food with his fingers. This must be a weird Julian trait? It’s pointed out a few different times throughout the movie and it’s just strange, not to mention unsanitary. No time for forks when you’re creating one of the most important technological programs of history ever, I suppose!
5. He wears cargo pants. Like, a bunch of times. With dress shirts? I like living in a world where I’m used to seeing Benedict in a sharp suit.
6. He chugs energy drinks. European ones, so not even Red Bull. These are probably crazier!
7. He slams computers shut. You know he’s mad! Things aren’t going his way and when he gets bad news on his computer, well he takes it out on that laptop. Very cathartic.
8. He cries. Why is this so far down on the impressive scale? Because he’s Benedict. Duh. We know he’s an excellent actor so it wasn’t shocking to see him cue up some water works. It was different and interesting to watch, just not surprising. Oh, and also a sad moment.
The Fifth Estate is in theaters now.
Will you see The Fifth Estate this weekend? What is your favorite Benedict role? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @OKMagazine.