The Fifth Estate (15)

Film

Drama

The Fifth Estate

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

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Time Out says

Tue Oct 8 2013

Are there many flawed geniuses left for Benedict Cumberbatch to play? The actor has already stepped into the shoes of Stephen Hawking, Vincent Van Gogh and Sherlock Holmes. Right now he’s making a film about troubled wartime codebreaker Alan Turing. And here he is in ‘The Fifth Estate’, sporting lank white hair, puffy eyes and a paranoid glare. He is Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder and, depending where you stand, radical crusader or crazed egomaniac – or both.

‘The Fifth Estate’ indulges both views without offering much about the man that feels new or original. Bill Condon’s frenetic, pacy movie feels like a character assessment in progress as it dashes through the rise of WikiLeaks and Assange’s ballooning self-importance with the swiftness of a broadband speed not yet invented. It honours his ballsy achievements – gathering and publishing explosive political and corporate documents – and tries, weakly, to find some explanation in his childhood.

It offers a very British view of Assange. It starts close to home, in King’s Cross, with The Guardian collaborating with Assange in 2010, in scenes that feel a bit like ‘In the Loop’ without gags (partly because Peter Capaldi plays editor Alan Rusbridger). And it ends with the same journalists – David Thewlis plays investigative reporter Nick Davies – wondering if they’ve created a monster. Inbetween it leaps back a few years to track how Assange recruited Daniel Schmitt (Daniel Brühl) to assist his mission. Less convincing is the film’s leaning on a neon-cyber-grungy aesthetic as Assange spends time in Berlin.

The film that ‘The Fifth Estate’ most resembles is ‘The Social Network’. The parallels are clear: a social outcast exorcising demons via technology; the vicious betrayal of a business partner; the swift transformation of news into drama. But ‘The Fifth Estate’ doesn’t have the same sharp focus or insight. It’s adequate and often fun, but no match for Cumberbatch’s talents: physically, his Assange is far more complex and intriguing than most of the things we hear him say or see him do.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Oct 11, 2013

Duration:

128 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Bill Condon

Screenwriter:

Josh Singer

Cast:

Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis

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Juan Carlos

Pacy??? This is a slow and rather boring film made by people within the media & political London bubble about people like them. There is a really good film to be made about Wikileaks but this certainly isn't it. It is nothing like the Social Network and it is harmed by being based on books written by two people who are portrayed in the film so it tippy toes around the heart of the story perhaps in fear of libel lawyers. There is nothing in the film that those with anything more than a cursory knowledge of the story won't know. This really should be compared to "All The President's Men" another film made shortly after the event about a topical political story. Now that was pacy and full of tension. Compared to that this is a very pale imitation. Worth two stars only.

Juan Carlos

Pacy??? This is a slow and rather boring film made by people within the media & political London bubble about people like them. There is a really good film to be made about Wikileaks but this certainly isn't it. It is nothing like the Social Network and it is harmed by being based on books written by two people who are portrayed in the film so it tippy toes around the heart of the story perhaps in fear of libel lawyers. There is nothing in the film that those with anything more than a cursory knowledge of the story won't know. This really should be compared to "All The President's Men" another film made shortly after the event about a topical political story. Now that was pacy and full of tension. Compared to that this is a very pale imitation. Worth two stars only.

Paul

Lots of moving and shaky camera shots of men staring at laptops, exciting stuff if that turns you on. More shots of men staring at laptops in a travelogue of EU cities. Finishing up with shots of Americans in suits sitting around in offices getting worked up about printout because they don't have laptops to stare at. That's entertainment

Paul

Lots of moving and shaky camera shots of men staring at laptops, exciting stuff if that turns you on. More shots of men staring at laptops in a travelogue of EU cities. Finishing up with shots of Americans in suits sitting around in offices getting worked up about printout because they don't have laptops to stare at. That's entertainment