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The Fifth Estate (2013)

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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.

Director:

Bill Condon

Writers:

Daniel Domscheit-Berg (book), David Leigh (book) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Capaldi ... Alan Rusbridger
David Thewlis ... Nick Davies
Anatole Taubman ... Holger Stark
Alexander Beyer ... Marcel Rosenbach
Philip Bretherton ... Bill Keller
Dan Stevens ... Ian Katz
Daniel Brühl ... Daniel Berg
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Julian Assange
Jamie Blackley ... Ziggy
Ludger Pistor ... Supervisor
Alicia Vikander ... Anke Domscheit
Michael Kranz ... Otto
Christin Nichols Christin Nichols ... Otto's Girlfriend
Christoph Franken Christoph Franken ... Game Console Hacker
Ben Rook Ben Rook ... Young Julian
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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? Written by DreamWorks Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How Wiki Leaks uncovers the secrets of the World See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | India | Belgium

Language:

English | Icelandic | Swahili | Arabic

Release Date:

18 October 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Sold the World See more »

Filming Locations:

Hoeilaart, Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,673,351, 20 October 2013

Gross USA:

$3,255,008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,555,008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A drama biopic movie about an earlier part of Julian Assange's life is Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012); covering the breach of MILNET, the events of the early 1990s, twenty years earlier. See more »

Goofs

In both Brussels airport and the Liège railway station, we hear a Dutch voice with a Hollandic accent (Dutch as spoken in The Netherlands) speaking through the PA. This doesn't make sense as in Liège the language would be French, and in the airport, Dutch announcements would be with a Belgian accent (Flemish). See more »

Quotes

Julian Assange: I've heard people say I dangle on the autistic spectrum. Probably why I lean so heavily on those around me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Agenda with Tom Bradby: Episode #4.1 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Drop The Other
Written by Emika
Performed by Emika
Courtesy of Ninja Tune
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Confused State
18 October 2013 | by FilmMuscleSee all my reviews

The Fifth Estate is a film that's bound to attract a considerable amount of controversy and end up with a fairly divisive crowd, and that's basically why you're witnessing the overwhelming negative reception from critics. Ultimately, bias will sweep in and largely contribute to your final thoughts on the film, essentially depending on what side you're on. Admittedly, this picture paints a villainous image for Julian Assange, especially as the plot progresses, and a plethora of reviewers apparently took issue with that, including Mr. Julian Assange himself. Well, there are also those critics that post their extremely vague negative responses to the film that don't exactly address a particular fault within the movie's content and definitely produce a sense of shadiness in terms of what exactly drove them so crazy over its material.

Anyways, let's focus on my reaction to the feature in general with as much honesty as possible. I won't lecture you on how much you should hate the NSA and the government's surveillance activities nor should I protest such anarchists' decisions. I'll judge the film as it should be judged, but of course, the level of its accuracy should absolutely be considered. Concentrating on the strengths at first, right off the bat, it's quite obvious just how exceptional the lead performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl are, and as usual, Cumberbatch carries that impressive volume of charisma with him where you simply can't take your eyes off his mannerisms and speech (I believe I already noted this in my Star Trek review); in short, his portrayal of Julian Assange is terrifically veracious. Daniel Bruhl, coming off of his memorable performance in Rush, makes his mark yet again, playing a foil to Julian in a way. Furthermore, The Fifth Estate unquestionably works as a full-fledged thriller with the several twists and turns throughout. The story, itself, is compelling and though it's abundantly filled with journalistic terminology and complicated concepts, you're forced to dedicate twice the attention to the screen.

On that note, The Fifth Estate suffers from a highly noticeable and detrimental flaw: its messy execution. What fundamentally follows persistently throughout the narrative are perplexing scenes that leave the audience scratching their head- and not in a good way in case you're asking. The movie's editing style and script will doubtlessly leave you confused in numerous instances. While you're attempting to understand how exactly a specific action or trade works, the film casts you into another situation that leaves you baffled yet again, and this really stems from- as previously mentioned- its wide array of terminology and the fast pace with which it irresponsibly deals with its explanation to the moviegoers. This is precisely why The Social Network shone in its brilliance: it was perfectly comprehensible and continued with remarkable execution- the pure opposite of The Fifth Estate. By the time the story comes to a conclusion, you will have likely properly sorted the film's ideas but to have a thriller work is to avoid placing your interested crowd into a muddled and jumbled predicament as it lessens the satisfaction and surprise that comes with a thrilling experience.

At the end of the day, The Fifth Estate is great in that it sparks a mixed reaction and requires both extreme sides of the table to continuously argue over the rightfulness or criminality of Wikileaks' existence and the path that Julian Assange took to see it to success. There are too many factors to just definitively point out if you should or shouldn't view it. However, if you're not one for complicated, fast- paced political thrillers, this probably won't be an enjoyable time at the movies. Otherwise, there might be something here that'll get you thinking about the whole debacle of our privacy vs. the so-called "evil government."


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