A dramatic thriller based on real events that 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.
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? Written by
I know I'm in the minority, but I liked "The Fifth Estate." Others will agree with me, though, that the best thing about it is Benedict Cumberbatch, who does brilliant job as Julian Assange.
I come at this film from a slightly different point of view because I still don't know what was so fabulous about "The Social Network." I understand the comparisons due to the similar stories. People seemed to find "The Social Network" incredibly compelling, but I guess it's a generational thing - I just didn't.
I attended this film with a friend who had only a vague knowledge of Wikileaks, and he absolutely loved it and found the "redaction" scenes toward the end of the film tense and suspenseful, as I did.
I realize that some of the film may be fictional, and that Wikileaks is a controversial subject. I can't pretend to know the truth. Cumberbatch portrays Assange as an egomaniacal, protective, arrogant man who refuses to compromise, even when information may hurt people. His right hand, Daniel (Daniel Bruhl) begins to see that Assange's dictatorial attitude and paranoia has gone too far and is actually in the long run going to hurt what could have been an important organization.
What should we know, and when should we know it? Assange wants to release unedited documents onto the World Wide Web. Yet in the beginning of the film, he wants at all costs to protect sources. He seems to forget that later on. That's all in the film, based on two books that we're told are biased.
Still, The Fifth Estate raises some interesting questions and also talks about the challenges we face now with news going out onto the Internet. I think some transparency is healthy; I don't think banks should help customers cheat the U.S. out of $30 billion in taxes; but I don't believe military strategy should be leaked, and I believe that sources should be protected. It seems like so much of what we hear today, from politicians and celebrities and publicists is "spin." And most of us are aware that there's more than they're telling us.
As far as the acting, Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci are marvelous in small roles; Cumberbatch gets excellent support from Bruhl, Alicia Vikander, Jamie Blackley, and the rest of the cast.
In short, Cumberbatch's performance should be seen and appreciated. I think this film has gotten a bad rap. It's certainly not an awful film.
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