6.2/10
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114 user 224 critic

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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Photos

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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:

You can't expose the world's secrets without exposing yourself. 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:

$1,714,000, 20 October 2013, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$3,254,172, 1 December 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to a Dec. 2016 article in 'Der Spiegel' magazine, the director Bill Condon visited their publishing house and took notes for the production design. The location was recreated in a studio in Brussels, but they made the rooms much bigger than the original ones are. Details like the old 'Spiegel' covers hanging on the wall (showing Albert Einstein etc.) are authentic, but the real ones are much smaller than the giant reproductions in the movie. See more »

Goofs

In one of the shots, one of the hackers wearing a Beats Audio headset. The events supposed to be before 2003, and Beats Audio was founded in 2006. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Shaw: If you don't want ugly pictures, you should stay out of ugly wars.
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Connections

Features Caillou (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Crunch Rhythm
Written by Amon Tobin
Performed by Two Fingers
Courtesy of Big Dada Recordings
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cumberbatch shines in a dull and only occasionally interesting account of the Wikileaks story
15 October 2013 | by TheGatsbySee all my reviews

You know what they say – you wait for a bus and then two come along at once. After causing a media frenzy in recent years, Julian Assange and his whistleblowing website WikiLeaks have found their way to the big screen this year, twice. Earlier in the year, the documentary 'WikiLeaks: We Steal Secrets' was released to highly positive reviews and a lengthy complaint from Assange himself. Now, we have Bill Condon's dramatic (and according to some, heavily fictionalised) account of the history of the now-infamous website and its founder. Similarly to aforementioned documentary, 'The Fifth Estate' has notably been objected by Assange, who wrote to lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch outlining why he shouldn't take the role or have any part in the film. Despite this, Cumberbatch didn't, instead delivering an excellent and nuanced performance that never feels like an impersonation. On the flipside, Cumberbatch is far-and-away the best thing in the film.

That's not to imply that 'The Fifth Estate' is a bad film by any means, it's just that it's regularly flat and occasionally boring. Many have compared it to David Fincher's 2010 masterpiece 'The Social Network' and the similarities do exist (the foundation of a revolutionary website involving two different people who eventually fall out over said site), but the difference is that this film lacks the spark and most importantly, the compelling dialogue of the latter. When making a film such as this centred on dialogue, it is imperative to make the talk as gripping as possible, but despite trying their best, the conversations here are only sporadically attention-grabbing. Additionally, the sequences set inside the 'cyberspace' feel out-of-place and don't work at all.

The film has good intentions and attempts to raise some interesting questions, as it successfully manages not to show favour to any side of the WikiLeaks argument, even going so as far as questioning the film itself, as we see Cumberbatch's Assange dismissing it in an interview. As well as Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl is very good as Assange's partner Daniel Domscheit-Berg, while David Thewlis is as usual, a pleasure to watch, here playing the best on screen Guardian journalist since Paddy Considine in 'The Bourne Ultimatum'. Overall though, the film is not as good as its star – it's a plodding and unremarkable account of one of the biggest new stories in recent history.


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