REVIEW: THE FIFTH ESTATE
Based on true events, this fast-paced global thriller takes you behind the shocking headlines. The Fifth Estate reveals the Wikileak’s rebel founder’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) quest to expose fraud and corruption to the widest audience possible: the internet.
FILM REVIEW: In 2011 and 2012, Bill Condon brought us The Twilight Sagas (Pt1&2). Now he’s at it again with this ambitious and zealous
bio-pic on the early days of WikiLeaks and the primary characters involved. He attempts to give a broad picture of WikiLeaks whilst honing in on the relationship of founder Julian Assange and his second-in-command Daniel
One of the most interesting aspects well worth noting is how Benedict Cumberbatch captures Assange’s voice and body language flawlessly. The vocal patterns and mannerisms all seem polished to perfection. His Assange is an eccentric egotist for whom the Wikileaks.com revolution, in newsgathering and dissemination, was a means to gain great personal power. To be put bluntly, Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Assange is simply mesmerizing, and one of the best representations in recent memory. He certainly demonstrates that he can competently carry a feature film in his first leading role.
Daniel Bruehl’s (The Fifth Estate, 2013) portrayal of Assange’s WikiLeaks partner, Daniel
Domscheit-Berg, seems to function as the conscience of the film, which isn’t surprising if you follow the reports on the book. Allegedly,
Domscheit-Berg’s take/book on Assange does provide such a narrative point of view; though, he doesn’t really have anything more to do than become increasingly disillusioned with
Assange. This is until he reaches his ethical breaking point, that is. With such a powerhouse of central performances from Comberbach and
Bruehl, the other actors barely get a chance to shine, but there's definitely strong work from the likes of Hollywood veterans, Laura Linney (Arthur Christmas, 2011) and The Hunger Games’, Stanley
On the down side, the metaphorical use of heavy-handed FX sequences make the film feel dated rather than contemporary, and the only genuine suspense is built in to the flick’s final sequences around the mainstream media’s simultaneous world-wide release of the leaked Manning documents. Arguably, more time is needed to provide perspective on Wikileaks’ impact on the media’s watchdog function versus the need for government secrecy. This efficient but uninspired work doesn’t provide any more insight into the issue than a television docudrama would. The zest of the subject matter fizzles out after a while and the movie really sags, toward the finale. After all,
bio-pics really need substance or they just tend to slide into irrelevance.
All the same, Condon has a track record in this genre and we need not look any further than what he did with Liam Neeson in Kinsey (2004). However, we’re faced here with the unfortunately fact that The Fifth Estate isn’t his finest work to date. It’s a story worth watching in DVD format, but does not warrant the trouble of theatre tickets. Yet, it is worthy of receiving three out of five stars for quality casting, story relevance and approach.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 1.85:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 (English); DTS Digital Surround
5.1 (Spanish) French
Subtitles - English Spanish
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iPad®, Android, computers and more.
The Submission Platform: Visual Effects (10:17) - From conception and pre-viz, through on-set photography and post, this featurette will explore the VFX challenges of bringing the submission platform to life.
In Camera: Graphics (6:22) - A study of the techniques and work involved in capturing the on screen graphics in camera, and allowing realistic interaction with the actors’ performances.
Scoring Secrets (9:15) - A detailed examination of the soundscape created by both the composer Carter Burwell as he records his score, and the film’s music supervisor as songs are chosen for the unique soundtrack.
Trailers & TV Spots - Theatrical Trailer (2:32), Titles (:30), Button (:30), Estates (:30), Decide (:30), Critics Review (:30), and Untold Story (:15)