First Hit: Although interesting, don’t think I learned much about Assange through its 2+ hours.
This film is very topical in that the US Government just sent Bradley Manning to prison and Edward Snowden is now living in Russia.
The tie between these two is the publication of documents showing the underbelly of our government. However, the film and camera spends a lot of time on Julian Assange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) but outside a few statements about his past, he ends up being an enigma. Do his decisions make sense? Sometimes.
Does he really believe in what he is doing? It appears so. Does he use people? If the film is to be believed, yes at times. One statement in the film that seemed to fit the character as Cumberbatch portrayed him was: “Julian is out for himself.” For the 2+ hours we float from scene to scene watching and waiting to see how Wikileaks handles the exposure of a plethora of US Government documents.
The suspense is minimal, because we know the answer already. The worst part of the film is that it didn’t leave much of a lasting impression about Assange. I did feel compassion for Daniel Berg (Daniel Bruhl) as he was a believer of Assange’s drive and belief, but ended up feeling betrayed by him.
Did the film move forward the Wikileaks cause? I don’t know. My personal dilemma with Wikileaks is that, although I think exposure of information is really good, if it is posted anonymously, one has to trust that the information is fully validated before it goes public; else it becomes a personal bitch Yelp posting. So far so good; I can only hope it stays that way.
Cumberbatch is excellent at giving the illusion of an enigma of a person. Bruhl is really good as Berg and I could feel him become a believer and how he provided traction to the cause. Daniel Domscheit-Berg and David Leigh wrote the book on which the film is based and it shows the elusiveness of Assange. Bill Condon seemed lost, as we spend 2+ hours getting to the big test of Wiki Leaks but the breadcrumbs along the way weren’t necessarily interesting or engaging.
Overall: Maybe this film comes too early in Assange’s life. It might have been a better film if there was in-depth character development – as there was none here.