Shaky “The Fifth Estate” Is Carried By Cumberbatch

19 Oct

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The Fifth Estate stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. If you don’t know what Wikileaks is, you might not be particularly interested in this movie, but I can assure you the movie raises some very interesting and important questions. Wikileaks is a website founded by Australian Assange as a way to help whistleblowers within corrupt organizations and institutions secure anonymity while exposing valuable information to the public. The movie chronicles the relationship between Assange and Daniel Berg, played by Daniel Bruhl, during the time that WIkileaks came to prominence.  Wikileaks is Julian Assange’s baby, but he reluctantly accepts help when the scale of the website becomes unmanageable by just Assange.  Both Assange and Berg believe they are doing good for the world, but the movie ultimately begs the question: How much information is too much for the public? Berg and Assange eventually get a scoop so big that it brings international governments to its knees, but they must decide what to do with it. 

There’s actually a number of other interesting questions woven into the story, but they aren’t able to relay to the audience as effectively as one would hope and I can only blame director Bill Condon. I’ve had a bit of a grudge against Condon ever since he ruined Breaking Dawn’s screen adaption. (If I’m being honest here I know the source material is a bit…weak but this man has no vision.) Cumberbatch is brilliant as Assange, nailing his mannerisms, accent and general deviousness perfectly. Not surprising, coming from Cumberbatch, he elevates the material of everything he’s been in. Bruhl is good as Berg, but he was certainly much better in Rush. 

Ultimately this movie provides some great talking points, but really needed a much sharper script to keep up with similar stories such as The Social Network. I do guarentee you will love Cumberbatch’s performance. Not a top ten pick for the year, but certainly interesting and fairly entertaining. 

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