Critic Reviews

49

Metascore

Based on 42 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
With a riveting portrayal by Cumberbatch at its heart, The Fifth Estate tells its story grippingly - but finally leaves us none the wiser.
75
The aloof, guarded Cumberbatch plays Assange as a mixture of brilliance, hucksterism, ego and naivete. He carries the baggage of an actor who plays “smart,” with a menacing edge.
75
At times The Fifth Estate seems as cutting-edge as the 21st century techno-info revolution it portrays. On other occasions... it's almost like an expensive “Funny or Die” bit.
75
This thriller about the game-changing website Wikileaks is as smart about cyberspace as “The Social Network,” but there's a glitch when it shifts the focus from felonious leaders to the misdemeanors of the man who exposed them.
65
As The Fifth Estate excitedly illustrates, in the Internet age no one can ever really have the last word.
63
The Fifth Estate doesn't seem to be presenting the full story. Instead, it's a fairly dull thriller about a hugely influential Internet phenomenon.
63
The Fifth Estate is stuck running in place.
60
This is highly competent catnip for the watercooler crowd.
60
Benedict Cumberbatch is inspiredly cast, serving up a technically ingenious performance which may be his juiciest ever.
60
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.
58
For a film that reminds use over and over that this is a whole new world, this movie feels awfully familiar.
50
The most compelling thing here by far is the film's vision of Assange, by all accounts a man of enormous self-regard and slippery ethics. Benedict Cumberbatch has the character in hand from the start.
50
Both the kindest and most damning thing you can say about The Fifth Estate is that it primarily hobbles itself by trying to cram in more context-needy material than any single drama should have to bear.
50
An uneven, intermittently thoughtful but largely preachy overview of WikiLeaks' rising influence that has less of an issue determining Assange's character than it does with telling a compelling story.
50
Timely but sluggish and confusing.
50
Not entirely successful or appealing - not exactly a delightful evening in the company of scintillating characters - but interesting all the same.
42
A lack of courage on behalf of the filmmakers to take any position renders the film narratively limp.
40
Disappointingly dull account of a tale desperately in need of a sharper screenplay and some directorial vim. Might as well wait for the Blu-ray, Jules.
40
Brühl, meanwhile, is saddled with the unenviable task of being this hollow movie's slow-dawning voice of reason: His climactic conversation with newspaper editor David Thewlis (never worse) is one of the most embarrassingly didactic Way We Live Now? summations ever filmed.
40
The Fifth Estate gives us an obsessive-compulsive messiah with a taste for martyrdom, and full-screen cascades of computer code in place of a coherent plot. Exhausting in a new way, the movie is a data dump devoid of drama.
40
What a letdown it is to see this spellbinding, era-defining story tamed into such stodgy submission.
38
The film is guilty of some of the same quick judgment it clearly doesn't endorse, exploiting Julian Assange's unmistakable appearance to help give itself a boogeyman.

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