Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, THE FIFTH ESTATE reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st...more
Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, THE FIFTH ESTATE reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization. This is the story of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. less
“Benedict Cumberbatch aces it but the film falls short at providing insight into the real-life inspiration and resorts to lacklustre drama.”
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One of the best sequences in this laboured and often plodding film are it's opening credits sequence that creates a montage of the evolution of media and information over the years. It's seamless, it's effortless and informative without beating down the point, unlike what much of the rest of the movie is. If anything the way I see it in many ways is a soul sequel to The Social Network, which unfortunately allows it to create black and white character templates far too easily. Why is that most biographies find it easy to go to two extremes and polarise opinion rather than present a more balanced picture and instigate debate. I saw the same thing earlier with The Social Network (but at least that had some amazing writing) and Jobs (cliched ridden writing, poor characterisation).
The movie chronicles the rise and fall of Wikileaks and in particular it's creator, Julian Assange, of whom if you haven't heard then please stop reading right away and crawl back under that rock you have been staying for the better half of the past decade. Based on two books written about Wikileaks and Assange, one by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange's confidante once upon a time and the other by David Leigh; the movie chooses to simplify matters and presents Assange as someone what Tomorrow Never Dies bond villain media mogul, Elliot Carver might have been at a younger age. Yes, it's highlighted that the man's done a service to the world but his personal traits are magnified to grotesque proportions distorting and raising questions about his very ability to pull something of this magnitude. Berg played by the otherwise excellent Daniel Bruhl is reduced to being the sheep led by Cumberbatch's vile shepherd, but why would a man like Berg, who's so level-headed and not desperate in any manner follow someone like the arrogant Assange and that's the shaky ground on which the movie starts off, reaching other territories where it's unable to justify its angle on things, only to end up trying to be a weird love child of Hackers (1995), Antitrust (2001), The Social Network and even the Bourne series.
Peel away the mysticism and tehcnical mumbo-jumbo the movie tries to sell and you'll find little worthy of substance and what is there is presented via heavily jaundiced perspectives. Yes, there is an attempt to present another point, but the argument is so feeble that it feels nothing more than the work a weak counsel at a case he thinks he's already lost.
The real Assange does get his moment to denounce the film at the end and despite his flip-flops on association with the movie, at least he's been honest enough to put forth his point properly and firmly, something the movie utterly fails to do. Even Cumberbatch can't save this one...