I realize it does get lampshaded in the movie itself, but this really is the "All The President's Men" of our era, with David Thewlis and Peter Capaldi (as Alan Rusbridger and Nick Davies) serving the same function as Ben Bradlee and Katherine Graham in the earlier narrative, right down they're serving as the "grown-ups" trying to make sure the "kids" don't go too far out on a limb.
Cumberbatch gave a truly amazing performance that reminded me of all the things that are actually good about his Sherlock Holmes as opposed to the things that the woobie-fying Cumberbitches THINK are good about it. In fact, it's very hard not to draw some comparisons, and I wonder how much the creators had that in mind when they cast him.
Assange is both a genius and a prick. His relationship with Daniel Bruhl is seductive, slashy as hell and completely manipulative. Their early scenes were SO reminiscent of the early scenes of Sherlock and John, especially the way Julian uses the world's hostility toward his ideas and genius to isolate Daniel and make him want to prove that he's different, that he's the one Julian can trust.
Understanding that that movie is based on the book by the "estranged lover" and is therefore going to be more sympathetic to Daniel, I think it still comes off as pretty fair. I went in fairly well predisposed to Julian Assange for what he did accomplish and I had no problem coming out believing he was a genius and a force for good...and still thinking he was a manipulative prick.
My favorite thing is the Joker-like retelling of the "white hair" stories, since there's something of that intensity and charisma in there too. In fact, Heath Ledger is one of the few actors I could see in the part, aside from BC, were he still around to play it.
I really liked Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci as the State Department Flunkies getting caught in the middle, although I'm not sure they added much to the actual narrative. Maybe they were just there as a "time out" from BC's intensity as Julian.
The editing and music managed to make suspense out of typing and technology, which isn't always well done, but I thought it definitely worked here, even (or especially) if it was a deliberate echo of the "machine gun" style typewriters at the end of the movie version of "All The President's Men."
Also...for those of you, who haven't seen or read ATPM...do so. I don't care if it's ANCIENT FUCKING HISTORY...you need some context. Also, the movie version is AWESOME, so do it for that reason. Sorry---I'm having a bit of cranky old lady-itus over hearing "I've never seen All The President's Men" when trying to explain the antecedents for this movie and story.
I've heard there are bad reviews out there. Well they're wrong. It's brilliant. (Except for the unbelievably cliched "let me start to have sex with my girlfriend so we can be interrupted by Julian" scene. Saw THAT one coming through the Lincoln Tunnel.)