Sneakers revisited–Cumberbatch plays WikiLeaks founder in thriller The Fifth Estate

Cumberbatch in The Fifth Estate

The crux of the 1992 thriller Sneakers, reviewed here at last week, was all that mattered in the future is “Who controls the information.”  The problem behind every problem?  Too many secrets.  If everyone knew everyone else’s secrets, would that make us safer?  In Sneakers, the solution is a little black box invented by fictional Dr. Gunter Janek, a white haired, young, brilliant genius played by Donal Logue (Life, Copper).   His box is not just a decoder of secrets but THE decoder of secrets.  In a way Sneakers was prescient, but it took 20 years for the secrets to be revealed, not through a black box but via the Internet—led by a young Dr. Janek-looking genius, Australian editor, activist, publisher and journalist Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks.

Logue as Janek in Sneakers

Next month actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who continues to prove he can play any role he attempts with aplomb, stars in his next leading role as Assange in the journalism thriller The Fifth Estate.

The Fifth Estate chronicles how two people reveal to the world the power to eliminate secrets, stretching the Internet to its bounds, and bringing power (or danger?) to the people.  Compare this scene from Sneakers:

with this (leaked?) scene from The Fifth Estate:

Or this scene in Sneakers where Ben Kingsley’s Cosmo predicts our future, including his own ability to make banks fail, just as Assange and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds, Goodbye, Lenin) playing Daniel Domscheit-Berg succeed to do The Fifth Estate:

Sneakers writer and director Phil Alden Robinson (also writer/director of Field of Dreams) was onto something back in 1992.

The Fifth Estate includes several other genre actors: Stanley Tucci (Jack the Giant Slayer, Captain America: The First Avenger) as James Boswell, Peter Capaldi (the next Doctor on Doctor Who) as Alan Rusbridger, Laura Linney (Dave, The Truman Show, The Mothman Prophecies) as Sarah Shaw, and David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Red 2, Timeline, DragonHeart) as Nick Davies.

Check out this preview for The Fifth Estate:

And if you think this looks like another documentary posing as a movie, this interesting feature discusses the thoughts behind this new film:

The Fifth Estate is scheduled for release in theaters October 18, 2013.

C.J. Bunce

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