Movie Review: The Fifth Estate


The Fifth Estate 

A review by Maria NeCastro of

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (of BBC's smash hit, Sherlock) as Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl (from the recent release, Rush) as Daniel Berg, this Oct. 18 release attempts to tell the story behind the not-for-profit media organization, WikiLeaks.

The film, over two hours long, attempts the brave task of telling the deep and complicated story of the events that led to WikiLeak becoming internationally known for being one of several news organizations to publish, "251,287 dispatches in all, from more than 250 US embassies and consulates...[that] reveal how the US deals with both its allies and its enemies," according to The Guardian. 

Unfortunately, the first half of the film is dull, repetitive, and fails to really capture the audiences compassion for the characters.  The story of WikiLeaks is fascinating, yet this movie does not do it justice.  From the strange sequencing to the out-of-place storytelling devices, the way this revolutionary story is told turned out to be very disappointing.  Compared recent successes in the Hollywood-told-true-story category, including The Ides of March and Argo, The Fifth Estate clearly deserved better writing and directing than it received. 

In terms of positive elements of the film, the acting of the main cast was fantastic.  As the plot thickens in the second half of the runtime, the intensity of the actors was impressive enough that, had the movie excelled in other areas, it could have been a contender in the upcoming award season.  Cumberbatch captures a bizarre essence in the role of Assange that some critics have said seemed a bit too similar to Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg in The Social Network.  This is completely debatable, as the role of computer hacker/genius has not been thoroughly explored yet in the entertainment world. 

While The Fifth Estate proved to be a somewhat cumbersome, if you are interested in the story, it is worth a watch when it comes to a Redbox near you.

Grade: C+