The Fifth Estate (2013)

fifthestate_2013_poster
The Fifth Estate (2013)
  • Time: 124 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | Thriller
  • Directors: Bill Condon, R.J. Cutler
  • Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Dan Stevens, Alicia Vikander, Daniel Brühl

Storyline:

The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them?

2 reviews

  • I was expecting a quality film but was less than satisfied. I do not know whether the story is told correctly or not, so I cannot discuss on that one. But there way too many loose ends and questions that left me in deep irritation with the conclusion. Not everything is explained… The film is somewhat suspenseful and adequately directed but it makes no effort whatsoever to hide it’s true agenda; that of smearing WikiLeaks and it’s founder Julian Assange. The movie had all the potential for something amazing in the suspense department and it’s clear the film wants to be a techno thriller with hints of espionage thrown in for good measure but the script feels like it never wants to actually get up and utilize the potential. The two lead performances are excellent though, especially Cumberbatch (Assange). All in all, I cannot say this movie was bad, but at least I was expecting more… No recommendation from me.

  • The Fifth Estate is a movie about the infamous WikiLeaks and the people who were behind it – mainly Julian Assange and Daniel Berg. The Fifth Estate is also one of the biggest box office flops of 2013. With only $1,7 million dollars earnt, The Fifth Estate holds the record for the worst opening weekend of 2013. It seems that the majority of people are not willing to pay their money to watch a boring 2 hour drama about WikiLeaks, which is reasonable. I personally belong to the small percentage of people who actually went to the theater to watch this biopic and, honestly, I wish that I didn’t, since The Fifth Estate is more or less a waste of time.

    The movie focuses on Daniel Berg (Daniel Brühl), a programmer, who soon meets the charismatic Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who then enlists Daniel in his WikiLeaks project. The concept behind WikiLeaks is maybe overly complicated to explain, but here it is, simplified: the site uploads information which they receive, and then validate, from anonymous whistleblowers. Their main goal is to correct social injustices and force big companies to be more transparent. I don’t think I need to go in details about WikiLeaks because everything else is pretty much history.

    This is what the director, Bill Condon (who recently directed The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1&2) said about The Fifth Estate: ‘It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information. So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked.’ To fully analyze the grasp of this movie, let’s analyze these words, part by part.

    [i]It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it’s revolutionized the spread of information.[/i]

    That’s fully correct. But why then make this movie now? Why not wait several years and then make a movie that will be able to properly demonstrate the full impact of WikiLeaks?

    [i]So this film won’t claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment.[/i]

    That’s not correct. The movie is based on books who were written by former Assange’s associates, by people who don’t like him anymore, so the movie’s pretty one sided from time to time. It’s easy to say that the movie is anti-Assange and anti-WikiLeaks. Not that I have much of a problem with that.

    [i]We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information.[/i]

    This is where The Fifth Estate fails. There are not many scenes in the movie exploring ‘the complexities and challenges of transparency’. If there were, the movie would have been more interesting and less shallow.

    [i]And, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked.[/i]

    Considering how big of a flop this movie was, I fear you’ll fail. And even if it hadn’t flopped, I fear the movie isn’t just interesting enough to ‘enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked’.

    Clearly, the story behind the WikiLeaks is interesting, I reckon it’s very dramatic and tense. But that doesn’t mean the movie will be the same. Quite the contrary, with its over 2 hours’ duration, The Fifth Estate is boring. There’s simply no dramatic value in The Fifth Estate that is interesting enough to entertain you for 2 hours. Both Benedict Cumberbatch (especially Cumberbatch) and Daniel Brüh are very talented, I’d even say brilliant, actors who do a great job, but sadly that’s the only good thing about The Fifth Estate. Looking from their perspectives, The Fifth Estate is far from a stain on their careers – like I said, they are great! – but it’s a shame that they didn’t have a stronger script backing them up. Some parts of the movie were rather badly written and could have easily been left out. The Fifth Estate is a superficial, style over substance movie that does benefit from its leads, but suffers from quite a weak script.

    Rating: 6/10

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