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Not a hater or a supporter
SnoopyStyle15 March 2014
The movie starts two years before the seminal leak of US government data by WikiLeaks. Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) coming off of his work in Kenyan takes on Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) as part of the team. Julian tells him that they have an army of volunteers, but pretty soon, he finds that they are mostly alone in the work. The whistle blowers start bringing in more and more shocking revelations, and catches the eyes of Guardian reporter Nick Davies (David Thewlis).

There seems to be a lot of Assange supporters hating on this movie big time. I'm neither supporter nor detractor. I'm just a guy who watches too many movies. Unless you think Assange is God, I doubt there's too much objectionable material in this movie.

Cumberbatch does a good job as a mercurial mysterious Assange. I do wish for a greater insight into his life, but this movie is mostly told through the POV of Berg. Daniel Brühl is a little bland. It makes me appreciate the superior work of Andrew Garfield in 'The Social Network' playing opposite another computer pioneer.

I'm good with its depiction of the computer world inside WikiLeaks as a series of desks. However when Berg finds out that there is only Assange and him in the room, the desks need to disappear leaving only two. Turning the other people into Assange is cute, but it's more visually honest to faze out the other desks.

I'm not so good with the preaching at the end. The movie wants to end, but the writers force David Thewlis to put in the two cents on the fourth and fifth estates. Then the stuff that Assange says is as forgettable as it gets. More than anything, it feels very dishonest unless he actually said those words. It seems the real Assange is much more angry at the movie than is depicted.
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Always ambitious and occasionally successful
Horst_In_Translation10 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I won't tell much about the plot as, if you came to this site or consider watching this film, you will be at least vaguely familiar with the story of Julien Assange and Wikileaks and may or may not have seen some of the many documentaries on the topic. Maybe you're not so much familiar with Daniel Domscheit-Berg though, at one point a close associate to Assange and the man who wrote the book that this film is based on. The director is Bill Condon from whom I enjoyed the Twilight films he directed and also "Dreamgirls" quite a lot, so I probably had some expectations seeing this, even if the topic was not exactly my most interested of the year.

The story is depicted fine all in all and occasionally really interesting. The one big problem this film has is a common one. There's not really any likable characters in here. Maybe Domscheit-Berg was intended to be one, but either the way Brühl portrayed him or the way he was written makes him almost as unlikeable as Assange. And you can at least hold in Assange's favor that he has some kind of social disability that, to some extent, excuses his actions and behavior. Vikander is certainly nice to look at, but the whole love story plot wasn't particularly interesting either, which is actually a huge problem as the quality of these side-plots, slightly away from the core story in many cases makes or breaks a movie. The highlight of the movie is Benedict Cumberbatch. He lends depth and the right degree of intensity to a certainly very complex character like Assange and while I never really was a fan of his Sherlock Holmes, he managed to convince me here and stole pretty much all his scenes the highlight being the one with Domscheit-Berg's parents at their home. He's really very credible as a sympathetic man whose difficulties in social situations have turned him into some kind of paranoid freedom fighter who hides behind a screen and security software doing what he does best to avoid human contact mostly, not counting speeches of course where he addresses a whole crowd and not just one particular human being.

However, with the real Assange (still stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy in London) not being too happy about Cumberbatch's portrayal and how the character was written, you always have to wonder how authentic the whole product is as it's 99% Domscheit-Berg's viewpoint. Not taking that into consideration, the film is mostly interesting to hackers, other computer specialists or those who are interested in the whole issue of data safety, government secrets etc., but it's not really for everybody and won't make you particularly interested in the topic if you weren't already before. Maybe it's just one of these subjects that really needs 20 or more years to pass (like Brühl's other 2013 movie "Rush", he's excellent there, or the most recent Best Picture Academy Award winner "Argo") for cinematically very convincing scrutiny in theaters.
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Leaks r Us
Prismark1027 October 2018
There is an energy to the Wikileaks movie but the screenplay is just so plain that you just know the film is contrived by trying hard to be exciting.

The Fifth Estate is about the biggest whistleblowers in history and the fractious relationship between Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl.)

The film is based partly on a book written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and it shows. He comes across as a more sympathetic character. We even get pointless scenes with his girlfriend who acts has his social conscious.

We see how the main characters met, both having an interest in online activism culminating in the release of the the Afghan War Logs in 2010. Then the release of the material obtained by Bradley Manning and the worldwide fallout it caused.

Assange increasingly appears to be an egoist. An unhinged liar, someone who lies easily and fails to protect his sources. It helps that Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy for the last few years wanted for rape charges in Sweden.

It is simply a case of a movie that was rushed out to capitalise on the news headlines caused by the Wikileaks saga. There was not enough time for a better script.
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Should Be about the Truth
claudio_carvalho9 August 2016
"The Fifth Estate" is a film made by Dreamworks apparently with the intention of showing Julian Assange as an egocentric villain and seems to manipulate the truth about the role of the Weakleaks. On the contrary, his unfaithful and ambitious partner Daniel Domscheit-Berg a.k.a. Daniel Schmitt is depicted like a rational adviser and the hero, destroying the whistleblower information and data of the Weakleaks to protect the "innocent spies and informers". The film is based on a book written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg; therefore totally partial about the truth without showing the side of Julian Assange. I am not expert in this subject and I have just the common sense of reading and listening to the news about Julian Assange and the Wikileaks. But the film seems to be manipulative and depicting one side of the truth only. Therefore as a documentary, it is worthless; however a thriller, it is engaging and has good performances. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "O Quinto Poder" ("O Quinto Poder")
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nogodnomasters4 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The film opens with a 4,000 year montage history of the fifth estate during the credits leading up to Wikileaks in July of 2010. The story centers on the personality of Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his association with Daniel Berg (Daniel Brohl). Much of the film is dedicated to the nuts and bolts of the process than the havoc it caused. The film calls Julian a "mad prophet." He is portrayed as an arrogant egotistical a##hole who is mono-focused, psychotic, and more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

The message of the film is that the free press takes courage, martyrs , and anarchists. I couldn't help think about Leon Trotsky, who revealed all the secret treaties held by the Czar, claiming that government secrets are class warfare. They are kept to protect the privileged members of society. Indeed, this film exposes that aspect of secrets, but it has a complexity that questions if all secrets should be told when there are innocent lives at stake.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, near sex, no nudity.
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kosmasp2 August 2014
Some state that is. Like a state of mind. Something you can get behind I reckon. And while especially the first part of the movie is more than intriguing, you could argue that the rest of it, is pretty one-sided. A fact that is almost completely redeemed by the end (a quote that I can more than relate to and which I wish more people would appreciate and practice).

Benedict is more than intriguing in a role that was very difficult to play. Not only because he's portraying someone who's still alive at the time of shooting the movie, but someone who disowned the movie (better the book it is based on) from the beginning. For some actors that might not have mattered, but it is being said, that Benedict was affected by it ... or was he? Are you curious enough to search the internet to see if it's true? That's how I felt at quite a lot of points during the movie, making this something that might be able to stay with you ... maybe not for too long, but even so ...
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Part of the WikiLeaks story.
TxMike13 October 2018
I watched this movie at home on DVD from my public library system.

Benedict Cumberbatch is good as the featured character, Julian Assange, who founded what became known as WikiLeaks, an internet based vehicle for illegally obtaining and widely distributing confidential information. Some involved banks and their clients, but the most potentially damaging were the leaks of government documents.

The movie isn't particularly good or bad but it does cover the gist of what Assange and his efforts have been up to. In the end Assange is just a coward with the ability to hack. He has been in self-imposed prison, in a consulate, for several years instead of coming forward and facing his accusers. Maybe some day he will be brought to justice.
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I actually liked it
blanche-230 October 2013
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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A bit too plain
Gordon-1129 April 2015
This film tells the story of the founder of Wikileaks, and the core volunteers work in building a secure platform to help whistle blowers to expose injustice.

"The Fifth Estate" starts off very impressive, with a collage of news and ways to deliver news in the last hundred years. It is like a journey through time, and it even looks very cool. Unfortunately, things go downhill after that, and the plot becomes plain. It lacks the captivation and dramatic buildup to keep suspense. Only the very last part of the film, when the biggest ever leak is happening, is thrilling. By then, I have already formed an opinion of the film.

It is marketed as a thriller, but I think it's more appropriate to say it's a biographical film because most of the screen time concentrates on the relationship of Julian and Daniel.
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The Fifth Estate
Scarecrow-882 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Critics were divided and theatrical turnout was small for this look at the "birth of WikiLeaks", built (supposedly) by Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) as a means to get the truth about corrupting global influences (governments, tyrannies, political figureheads, etc) out in the information superhighway so that the public at large, through the use of the internet and eventually the media who follow after this release with questions on all that is revealed. Whether what we see is altogether accurate or not depends on whether you can accept Daniel's (and Hollywood's) retelling of events surrounding the accounts regarding WikiLeaks. As a film, directed by Bill Condon, I found it compelling enough, and Benedict Cumberbatch is so sensational, I can only imagine Assange was more than pleased he could be presented by such a charismatic, incredible presence on film. Although, it depends upon how you feel regarding Assange and Daniel's agenda, and if Daniel's accounts are real or fictional in ways that makes him look positive (I have to admit that I felt the film does tend to paint Daniel as a noble tech wiz with a morale that is tested by Assange's ego), I did consider this film really intriguing and even entertaining on the level of "here are two tech geniuses with the ability to change the way information effects the behavior of large global entities, soon coming to odds when sources and lives are potentially threatened (whistleblowers are to be protected, right?)". Assange wants to do whatever it takes to call out those irresponsible with lives and corrupt in their behavior and how this affects innocent lives, but the film questions how this could be detrimental to innocent lives. So if you believe that message is okay and that Assange willingly involved himself in that questionable mishandling of information (Alexander Siddig's character in Kenya is a casualty of the release of information that put his country's leadership under the microscope), this could be food for thought. I liked it on the level of two young men who develop a bond over doing something significant through the use of the internet in order to hold corrupting influences accountable for their misbehavior. Then, as time continues, they meet a crossroads when it comes to how information should be shared and brought to light that erodes what they had. Soon Assange considers his (Daniel's) hiring a mistake, although the film itself seems to inform us that he was essential to the success of WikiLeaks. Is there an agenda by those who made this film? Well, at least they allow Assange to claim in an interview at the end that this film wouldn't be an accurate detailing of events, so maybe we will truly never quite know. Condon really tries, bless his heart, to get a lot in two hours, but it is quite a task. I think he does lay on the "they're out to get you, Julian" a bit thick, but that can be expected considering the use of confidential information at their disposal. The film certainly casts an indictment on those responsible for wrongdoing and allows the WikiLeaks folks to be a type of crusade against injustice. It isn't a dismissive recollection of accounts where global computer terrorists use information provided to hurt those undeserved of such a fate. It examines how to use information that exposes criminal activity. Big role for David Thewlis of The Guardian who wants to work in concert with WikiLeaks in order to release the information and protect the sources responsible for the exposing of corruption. Anyway, the film does show both men as superstars who are revolutionaries in a sense and worthy of awe, so I can't say this isn't purposely manipulative. Still, this held my attention even if I wasn't altogether convinced what it was telling me wasn't guided by a willingness to glamorize its characters. Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney are members of the US government trying to hold the country's secrets from unveiling, ultimately proving unsuccessful. I left feeling like this film didn't even truly touch the surface of what could be truly fascinating regarding Assange himself.
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Too Much to Take On in Two Hours
LeonLouisRicci28 June 2014
Serving a Need to Know about Wikileaks, its Founder, and the Duality of its Merits and Dangers, this Movie Creates a Shallow Synopsis and Cliff Notes Version of its Many Important Themes. There is just So Much There Here that it would Serve a Greater Purpose to Take on Something, Anything that has the Weight of Worldwide Significance and Go For It.

But the Safe Way is what this Movie about the Information Highway Decided was Best. A Thriller, Viewer Friendly Fodder of a Film was Offered and the Movie Suffered at the Box Office and at the Keyboards of Critics.

The Film Succeeds in Being what it Set Out to be. A Not So Insightful Exploration of Some Very Big Cultural and Societal Implications having to do with Privacy, Free Speech, Government and Corporate Secrecy, and Generally the Internet as a Platform and Dumping Ground for Everything and Everything Uncensored is Considered Fair Game for Public Consumption.

OK, You got Two Hours to make Your Case about All of these Critical and Profound Constitutional Arguments Concerning the Bill of Rights, Millions of Lists, Documents, and Video and Sound Files, it's Implications and Unintended Repercussions.

That Task is so Inherently Overwhelming and Indeed Absolutely Impossible, it is No Wonder that this Turned Out to be a Movie More About Entertainment than High Education or Deep Philosophical Issues. It Manages to Teach a Bit and Preach a Bit. Don't Expect Much More.
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'Courage is contagious. Right?'
gradyharp29 January 2014
Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls, The Twilight Saga series) directs a film adapted from Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website" - along with another similar book by David Leigh and Luke Harding – adapted for the screen by Josh Singer – and in doing so brings considerable clarity to the WikiLeaks scandal in a way that more of us can understand the history and the concept behind this precursor to the contemporary fixation on spying. It may by a bit long in the tooth, and perhaps it is one man's view, but the pacing of the action and the extraordinary way in which the concept developed is enlightening.

The headlining true 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. Without financing 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? Perhaps the better way to survey the content is to quote a passage Assange states: 'Man is least himself when he talks with his own person. But if you give him a mask, he will tell you the truth. Two people, and a secret: the beginning of all conspiracies. More people, and, more secrets. But if we could find one moral man, one whistle-blower. Someone willing to expose those secrets, that man can topple the most powerful and most repressive of regimes.'

No matter how the viewer perceives Assange, this film provides information in an entertaining and enlightening manner about one of the most talked about scandals of this century – thus far…. The performances by the entire cast are exemplary. Grady Harp, January 14
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Surprisingly good!
mm-399 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
What worked: A true tale is always better than fiction. How much was omitted, dramatized, and cut out/merged due to time constraints always changes the story was in the back of my mind as I watched. However, I find the story is about characters Assange and his cohorts interesting. As the Fifth Estate unfolds we find out what makes Assange tick. The story of Wikileaks itself unfolds is even more interesting. What Wikileaks actual did the how, why, what is exposed is just fascinating. Both sub stories unfold at a pace where the view is wanting to know more. Mixed in is the sub cutler of the hackers, cyber underground give a realist feel. All three components makes for the an interesting story. The thesis of the right to know vs personal privacy/ lives at risk is a great debate for a memorable ending. Was Assange and Wiki's strict policy with time lines and with out redaction too much? The Fifth Estate shows the effects of news on people both good and bad which is a nice change from the plethora of good vs evil super hero movies.
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A film that's complex as it shows the world of high tech technology computer crimes.
blanbrn21 October 2013
After watching "The Fifth Estate" it's one film that you may not understand and may be a little confused, that is if your not down with the business of the high tech and modern world of cyber crime and computer hacking as the film is based on the international WikiLeaks scandal and it's founder Julian Assange(Benedict Cumberbatch). Anyway director Bill Condon makes the film edgy and exciting as you the viewer see Assange as a slick computer villain who has secret ways to get the world's most sought after and hard fought secrets. As we see WikiLeaks as an organization of it's own, but really it's just him working with a hot European assistant Daniel Berg(Daniel Bruhl). After each post of documents and videos, which all reveal corruption all around the globe, one might think of a classic thriller that revealed dark times like that of the 1970's. Still we see how information starts to destroy all involved it's like a reporter destroying a political person with dirt, yet it becomes all to tough as all information reveled hurts citizens from all parts. Still this film showed that the real life story of an information seeker who only sought the truth even if he and his methods were flawed proving the truth is only right and only human.
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Shamefully exploitative!
Hellmant30 January 2014
'THE FIFTH ESTATE': Two Stars (Out of Five)

Propaganda film attempting to smear the public's view of the internet news site WikiLeaks. It's based on the books 'Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website' by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and 'WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy' by David Leigh and Luke Harding. It was scripted by Josh Singer and directed by Bill Condon. The movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Daniel Bruhl as his partner in crime Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The two lead actors are both great in the film but the movie itself is shamefully exploitative.

The story explores how Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Bruhl) first met (in 2007) and started up the website WikiLeaks. The site is dedicated to releasing important news to the public, that's currently being kept secret, while protecting their sources (and keeping them anonymous). Their relationship becomes troubled as the website grows more and more controversial and Daniel suspects that Assange has ulterior motives for 'publishing the truth' (while not really caring about protecting the people providing the information). The movie also examines Assange's upbringing (and time spent in a cult) and Daniel's relationships with colleagues, family and friends.

The film is somewhat suspenseful and adequately directed but it makes no effort whatsoever to hide it's true agenda; that of smearing WikiLeaks and it's founder Julian Assange. Like I said the two lead performances are excellent though, especially Cumberbatch (who is supportive of WikiLeaks and communicated regularly with Assange during filming). Cumberbatch was drawn to the acting opportunities provided by his complex role and encouraged rewrites of the horrid script. He's said "No matter how you cut it, he's (Assagne) done us a massive service, to wake us up to the zombielike way we absorb our news". I don't have any idea what kind of a person Assange is but I agree he's done us all "a massive service" and don't think this film does anyone one. I'm glad it bombed (so horribly) at the Box Office and think most people were smart enough to know what it's true intentions are. The documentary 'WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS' is a much more honest and informative film on the subject. You should check it out instead.

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An unintentional parody of itself
Robert_duder30 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the enormously disappointing box office returns of this film I was actually looking forward to it. I didn't know a lot about the Wikileaks story or Julian Assange but was hoping this would be at least an interesting bio-pic and parts of it were. I certainly understand why the film faltered and failed because it feels like a TV movie at best and worst of all is how ridiculous the lead actor and character looks and behaves. Some have said "Well that's just Julian Assange so Cumberbatch nailed the role." If that's the case then they should not have made a film about the guy because it felt like I was watching an SNL skit when he was on screen. They focused far too much on silly little details and making sure people looked the part rather than focusing on the story. It felt like all the interesting aspects of this story were way in the background and that was disappointing. It was decently entertaining and there were even some fascinating scenes but overall it was just showing potential that was completely lost by what I can guess is a bad director and producer and a poor script for that matter. I find it interesting that this is based on a book by Assange's former business partner and now nemesis because I felt like it was very pro-Assange despite making him look very, very eccentric. It was trying to be The Social Network but doesn't even come close.

So I already mentioned Benedict Cumberbatch who I haven't seen in a lot yet but I am less impressed with him each time. This role doesn't help any. He looks completely ridiculous, he delivers his lines like he's reading Shakespeare, and he overacts in nearly every scene. I understand the script is not great but he makes it worse and that's unfortunate. Daniel Bruhl who gave one of the best performances of 2013 in Rush is okay as the aforementioned business partner Daniel Berg. He is definitely the best member of the cast but that isn't saying much. For the most part he is a little monotone and seems to just be going through the motions knowing full well the script is bad. I will say that Cumberbatch and Bruhl have decent chemistry in their scenes together and one of the best things about the film is the tumultuous relationship between the two of them. Is anyone else in this cast worth mentioning? Sadly no. No one has enough screen time to be effective and the supporting cast have zero development. There are two exceptions to this rule. There are very, very, VERY small roles played by Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney. They get one especially good scene towards the end of the film but they have enough clout as actors and are talented enough to make you notice them and its a shame that they were used so sparingly. I wonder why they chose to have such small roles.

What can you say about director Bill Condon. Most great directors stick to a certain demographic, or genre and you can see their distinct style. None of this applies to Condon. Twilight films, Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Candyman....his career is all over the place. The Fifth Estate just feels extremely sloppy and I'm not sure that anyone cared enough to really try on this. I don't mean to completely trash it because it wasn't downright terrible, it was just such a far fall from similar biopics like The Social Network or Jobs, both which were brilliant films with incredible performances and then The Fifth Estate is just simply...blah. Average in every way and full of missed potential. Skip it unless you're really in need of a wikileaks film. 6/10
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Ironically dull biopic of the infamous Julian Assange
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

A biopic of Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the infamous founder of Wiki Leaks, and his controversial exposes of various scandals and institutions around the world, whose personal and professional relationship with old friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl) faltered after he pushed the line further and further and the stakes grew steadily higher.

Julian Assange is one of the most influential figures of our time, in a day and age where the internet has become so much of a more powerful tool for information than the printed media, especially with the British press being hit by the Leveson report, being the man behind a renegade website not constrained by any sort of injunction or code of conduct. Knowledge is as powerful as it has ever been, and the click of a button is the modern weapon of choice. Being such a trendy modern actor, Cumberbatch is probably pretty ideal to be taking on the role of this socially awkward, ill mannered loner, who took on the establishment he felt so compressed by.

The Fifth Estate is an enigma of a film, in the sense that it's a dramatization of one of the most interesting figures of modern times, that somehow by it's very nature is so boring. For all the impact on modern culture Assange has had, at the end of the day he was just a bloke sitting behind a computer, and there's only so much you can see of a guy and his friend tapping away on a keyboard you can see before it becomes even more dull than it already is. With intermittent feature director Bill Condon at the helm, his style is a steady and safe one, but one which fails to inject the tale with any more of a sense of energy or excitement. How relevant or accurate it is, I'm unsure, but either way it's no more or less thrilling.

A character as relevant and interesting as Assange was inevitably going to be the subject of a feature film at some point, but by irony, it was inevitably going to be pretty dull and as such, you'd probably get the same effect by just doing some research of your own or keeping up with events. **
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Better expected but still slow moving. Like Social Network in the way that it's a lot of this happened, then this happened.
cosmo_tiger20 January 2014
"Only someone so obsessed with his own secrets could come up with a way to reveal everyone else's." Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) is obsessed with truth. He develops a website known as WikiLeakes and along with his partner Daniel (Brühl) they give a voice to the whistle-blowers against government agencies and corporate crimes. What starts off as a little known site soon becomes more and more powerful, and Assange becomes more and more obsessed. Without getting too political going in I had an opinion formed. I do not agree with what he did and because of that I was ready to hate the movie. What I discovered watching this was something I didn't expect. I know the movie is based off two books on one end of the spectrum and doesn't tell the "whole story" but for the most part it tried not to take sides as far as whether the site is a good thing or not. What it focused on was Assange and his insecurities and stubbornness which affected the others who worked with him and eventually led to the life he leads today. Going in I didn't like Assange and after watching this my view of the website changed a little but my view of him remained the same. Again though I realize this is only one side of the story. Overall, better then I expected but still pretty slow moving. This is a lot like Social Network in the way that it's a lot of this happened, then this happened. It doesn't show a flattering side of Assange...if that is even possible. I give it a B
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Not worthy of the critical mauling it received
eddie_baggins1 April 2014
Once every year there is a film many are expecting much from and hype around it is high, the results however are much different to the pre-conceived ideas and the film flops in all areas from critical, audience and box office performance – last year this film was famed director Bill Condon's The Fifth Estate. Universally panned upon release and losing money at the box office like it was fashionable you'd be justified in expecting a truly horrendous film experience from this Julian Assange tale but also expect like I did to be pleasantly surprised.

No doubt influenced by both the success and structure of the much better Facebook tale The Social Network, Fifth Estate has no time for background and chooses to focus on the periods of Assange's life and setting up of Wikileaks around the 2008 period that culminated in the worldwide release of United States documents on the Afghanistan war in 2011. With the film choosing this as it's focal point it doesn't give the film a whole lot of heart but it does have a very interesting central relationship between its very own Zukerberg and Saverin in the form of Julian Assange and Daniel Berg played by fine actors Benedict Cumberbatch and the ever improving Daniel Bruhl.

British star Benedict Cumberbatch has quickly and rightfully become a sensation in the last few years and his casting as Australian born Assanage drew much interest and fanfare upon announcement. When the film hit screens however it seemed many turned upon his performance which watching now seems unfair. Cumberbatch inhabits Assanage's public persona perfectly (for example of this watch the final scenes) and even pulls off being Australian better than most Streep like "a dingo ate my baby" performances. Cumberbatch is ably supported by Bruhl who despite not being given a whole raft of emotions to play with garners audience sympathy and is relatable beyond most of the other players in the true life tale. Other supports are wasted with only David Thewlis making much of a mark with his role as Guardian journalist Nick Davies.

With such good central turns one must think all critical mauling's the film received has to be down to odd direction by Condon who perhaps after working on Twilight for all those years suffered some filmmaking bad habits. His direction is at times amateurish with a seeming aim to be a Bourne like shaky camera procedure that just doesn't fit the story, although some nightmarish like scenes involving rooms full of computers and Assange clones shows that at times the film is strikingly haunting. Other weaker elements of the film include some misplaced editing and a horrible intrusive score by the usually reliable Carter Burwell.

An interesting look into the time of Wikileaks world dominance and the moral conundrums it had to reveal the truth, The Fifth Estate is a very interesting look into that time and the relationship between two gifted men and their important relationship. Don't go in expecting to come out knowing Assange any better but if you go with the story presented there is undoubtedly enough to keep you watching despite some seriously underwhelming production feats.

3 and a half early dinner exits out of 5

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poe42620 May 2014
THE FIFTH ESTATE is just about what one would expect in this, The Disinformation Age: Truthcrime. As Glenn Greenwald has put it, there is NO PLACE TO HIDE; with Manning in prison and Assange holed up in an embassy, with Snowden an exile and Aaron Swartz dead, with the FCC about to make Internet Neutrality a thing of the past and the NSA laying claim to the mantle the Stasi abdicated, there is Truly NO PLACE TO HIDE. Truthcrime is the villification of one who tells the Truth- and the criminalization of Truth itself. As the Assange character in the movie puts it, "Whoever thought that we'd need extra servers to fight censorship attacks from the bastion of free speech?" The fostering of Fear is paramount in any Fascist society, and it was Hillary Clinton herself who said, "We recognize that the world's information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it." Wikileaks brought us as a nation face to face with our own hypocrisy and to this day fugitives who should be hailed as heroes are demonized by the Corporate Media. There's a lot of talk of hypothetical harm that's been done to the American $urveillance $tate by whistleblowers, but a movie like THE FIFTH ESTATE , with its collateral characters and laughably overblown imagery, is simply disingenuous and does more real Harm than Good.
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A bit too geeky for me! 3/10
leonblackwood23 February 2014
Review: Personally, I didn't really enjoy this movie. I lost interest once it started to get all technical because I didn't have a clue what was going on. The director didn't really concentrate on the characters. He was more interested in the information that was going to be leaked than trying to let the audience know the people themselves. I didn't really like the whole look and feel of the movie and the music was pretty annoying. By the end of the movie, I didn't really learn that much about WikiLeaks, that I haven't seen on the news or in the papers so it seemed a bit pointless. I was hoping to learn more about the guy who started the whole thing, but as the movie wasn't shown from his point of view, I just wasn't that impressed. Disappointing!

Round-Up: Benedict Cumberbatch played his part well, but as I don't know anything about the person that he was playing, I don't know if he was really like him. To be honest, it seemed like a geeky film made by geeks, and I'm sure that there is going to be a lot of people that won't find this remotely interesting. At the end of the day, the guy that started the whole thing seems like he has dome personal issues and that he had a messed up upbringing that made him into the person that he is.

Budget: $28million Worldwide Gross: $8.5million (Flopped!)

I recommend this movie to people who want to know a bit more about WikiLeaks and how it became what it is today. 3/10
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The Fifth Estate leaks its interesting news headline through an inaccurate screenplay.
TheMovieDiorama6 March 2019
WikiLeaks and its saga of uncompromising whistleblowing has essentially changed the way journalism is conducted. Exposing corrupt governments, identifying illegal activities within global companies and altering international diplomacy. The freedom of information. Sounds enthralling, right? Wrong. Director Condon is enveloped by the film's self-importance and loses so much focus that it becomes this construction of lies. Based on Berg's 'Inside WikiLeaks' book, this narrative explores the immediate conception and rise of the non-profit organisation and how it dealt with what is now known as "Cablegate", the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released onto the public domain.

Despite Cumberbatch's riveting leading performance, a dependable supporting ensemble cast and Schliessler's clean cinematography, it's a mess. Condon cannot decide how to tell Assange's story. Instead of detailing Assange's motives and clearly presenting his backstory, which I'm sure would've been fascinating, Condon decides to dabble into self-indulgence by believing its decryption of secrecy to be revelatory and ground-breaking. In doing so, writer Singer has almost imitated the biographical template that 'The Social Network' set as precedent, but with lacklustre results. He tries to explore Assange and Berg as individuals whilst juggling a diplomatic story that spans various years and consistently shifting between hackers, journalists and diplomats in order to ascertain the consequence of WikiLeaks. Alas, all aspects were undeveloped. It's a functional plot and does often feel captivating, particularly the third act, however it feels so over-wrought with meticulous planning that it comes across as clinical.

The film then concludes with a fictional interview stating that the film we just watched was a dramatisation of something that didn't actually happen and that we should "find the truth ourselves". Hardly motivating. More infuriating actually. It tries to open a discussion, but does so in a painfully full way.
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Ambiguous Portrayal of the Celebrate Whistleblower
l_rawjalaurence10 June 2014
THE FIFTH ESTATE is certainly an intriguing piece of work - not least for the fact that it hasn't made up its mind about how view the central character. Played with narcissistic grace by Benedict Cumberbatch - in one of his best film roles to days - Julian Assange comes across as both obsessive and righteous, impossible to live with yet possessed of firm convictions, haunted by his past yet dedicated to improving the future. His relationship with Daniel Berg (Daniel Bruhl) is a combustible one; Assange doesn't want his partner around yet can't seem to operate without him. Eventually the two of them break up for good, and Assange is quite literally hoist by his own hubristic petard. Structurally speaking. Bill Condon's film is particularly flashy - full of rapid cuts and awkward zooms. Sometimes it becomes rather irritating in its attempt to stress the central theme; despite Assange's assertions to the contrary, Wikileaks was not a worldwide organization but a two-person operation. The repeated shots of office desks, peopled by clones of Assange, emphasize the protagonist's ambitious, if somewhat unrealistic, dreams. Eventually the flashiness gets in the way of the film's resolution, especially at the end, when the shots of burning books and campfires seem especially unnecessary, and Nick Davies' (David Thewlis') concluding speech is nothing short of tendentious. Nonetheless THE FIFTH ESTATE remains perversely watchable, if only to witness the extreme yet ineffectual reactions of US government officials (played by Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney), once the extent of the leaks becomes evident.
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Lopsided plot, fine performances
BeneCumb13 January 2014
Towards persons like Julian Assange, there are contrary attitudes: some think of him as a freedom fighter, the others as a traitor or the one endangering human destinies (of course, people with such background and ideas are not "normal" in the common sense - like all people fighting for their ideals without compromises). As the latter view is prevailing and boosted through mainstream media and official channels, many potential viewers skipped it... And so did admirers of Assange as the latter did not approve the script based on the books by those disapproving his style and methods.

I presume those can be the main reasons why the movie in question has been commercially unsuccessful... Well, the script has its shortcomings including unnecessary under-plot and excess focus on computer technology, the tensions are still there, and one can ponder on and over various serious issues and approaches. But the real gem is the cast, particularly Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange should obtain definitely more praise for his performance. Daniel Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg is also very good, although his character was more geeky than colorful Assange, but his changes in relationships were well depicted... And names like David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Peter Capaldi, Laura Linney are always certain quality signs, although their roles in this movie were rather small.

Thus, recommendable to watch, with less focus on persons/events and more focus on performances. For wider distribution, its title is dubious as well (although the meaning explained near the end).
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Cumberbatch and Bruhl save this film and make it watchable.
estebangonzalez107 March 2014
"If you want to know the truth... no one is going to tell you the truth. They're only going to tell you their version. So, if you want the truth, you have to seek it out for yourself."

The Fifth Estate is an engaging political thriller based on real events involving the popular and questionable internet site, WikiLeaks, which intended to work as a sort of watchdog site exposing the corrupt actions of powerful organizations and governments. Despite all the media attention this got all over the news, audiences didn't seem too interested in checking out this film. If you've basically kept up with the news about WikiLeaks than this film doesn't offer much more than a dramatic story focusing on the main characters. In the end this film only tells its own version of the truth, but if you really want to know what happened you will need to investigate more on your own. The Fifth Estate raises some interest towards the subject, but it never really informs much about it. Despite being a bit one sided and exposing Assange as an egocentric and obsessive character, it still managed to raise interesting questions. The film focuses more on the relationship between Assange and Daniel Berg who teamed up to build the site than on the actual events themselves. It is worth watching for the dynamic relationship between the two, perfectly played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl, two actors that weren't on my radar before 2013, but have had an impressive year.

The Fifth Estate was based on Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website) and David Leigh's books (WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy) and the screenplay was adapted by Josh Singer (The West Wing) which focused on the relationship between WikiLeak founder, Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and Daniel Berg (Daniel Bruhl) who teamed up with him to guarantee that the website would protect the anonymity of the whistleblowers that were exposing corruption and dark secrets of powerful organizations such as banks or dictatorships. Thus the site began exposing corporate crimes and other government secrets at a very fast pace. However when the site receives thousands of confidential US military and government documents, Assange and Berg differ in how they should deal with this sensitive material.

The lack of public interest in the WikiLeak scandals kind of hurt this film, but the truth is that with everything that went on it's hard to decipher what the intentions of the producers of this film truly are. It might be one sided, but it still presents some interesting points and it is left to the viewer to keep on searching for the truth on their own. The focus of the film is on the relationship between the two main characters and I was fine with that because the performances were strong. Alicia Vikander, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, and Stanley Tucci aren't given much to do with their characters considering the plot kept on jamming a lot of information in a short period of time and they really didn't stand out, but it was still nice to see some of these talented actors here. Vikander is gorgeous and I'm glad she's getting more roles after her great performance in the danish film, A Royal Affair. Bill Condon is a talented director (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey, Dreamgirls), but The Fifth Estate is a flawed film. We never learn much about the secrets that were being uncovered, since the film focused more on the relationship between Assange and Berg. It's more interested in the characters and exposing Assange's flaws than in telling the actual story. Cumberbatch and Bruhl save this film and make it watchable.
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