The Fifth Estate - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fifth Estate Reviews

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July 31, 2016
I could watch Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much anything. This movie was interesting, but a bit preachy and one-sided. An interesting film, although it falls a bit short.
½ July 24, 2016
Badly under-rated - this is really a documentary drama rather than an action film - indeed the action that there was, was mostly real footage. The story for me was not about Assange, it was about the handling of facts in our current age. However beyond truth there needs to be accountability, it seems easy enough now to say 'yes that was me and what are you going to do about it?' To which the answer is typically silence.
May 15, 2016
The more I think about this movie, the more I realize what a terrible, gorgeous anti-WikiLeaks propaganda it was. It's so painfully obvious from how they portray Julian as a creepy, lying, immoral, hair-bleaching "other," to how noble and selfless the government is in just trying to protect their sources. Daniel, our viewer insert, is seduced by Julian's promises but in the end sees the light and not only rejects WikiLeaks, but actively destroys it - as we should. It's beautiful. Brings tears to my eyes.
½ May 13, 2016
Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brühl do a fine job of drawing us into their characters, but because 'The Fifth Estate' is an uneven and sometimes confusing thriller, it's not enough.
April 9, 2016
Benedict Cumberbatch at his best!!!!! absolutly Splendid perfomance.
½ March 15, 2016
Cumberbatch's portrayal of Assange is riveting and once again proves his talent to be far above the rest of the cast, however, the overall film leaves you wishing that perhaps, somebody else had put it together.
½ February 9, 2016
a fail movie that doesn't show any respect for the real people it's based on or tells a very good story.
February 9, 2016
Low scores for this one, but I didn't mind it. There is some melodrama that is somewhat weak but the details from the whistleblowers are powerful and seem accurate to real life. Perhaps, though, that it's too soon for a drama on Assange. A documentary similar to Citizenfour would be welcome, however.
December 22, 2015
Under rated. The romantic subplot was unneeded.
December 16, 2015
In Medieval Europe, the First Estate was the clergy, The Second Estate was the nobility and The Third Estate were the commoners - basically, what we would call today "the 99%". The term The Fourth Estate emerged later as a designation for a group of people who aren't large in numbers, but are great in influence - usually the news media. This leads us to the title of the 2013 film "The Fifth Estate" (R, 2:08). What if there were another group of people, further outside the older classes of society - a group that was an offshoot of The Fourth Estate, smaller in size, but greater in influence? In this, The Information Age, the internet has created such a group, a group that plays a role similar to The Fourth Estate, but does it completely independently and with no accountability. It's a group that is influential enough, and different enough from the established media, that a new name seems appropriate to describe this group. This is The Fifth Estate, and there is no better example of The Fifth Estate than the WikiLeaks website, publisher of documents leaked to the site by people within corporations, military and government organizations who feel that they have a responsibility to expose corruption, questionable practices, lies and policies and practices with which the leaker simply disagrees. Calling a movie about WikiLeaks "The Fifth Estate" begs the question: Can people who work with such an organization really be called journalists, are they lawbreakers, or are they something new and different, something that defies definition? It's an important question and it's what this film asks its audience.

WikiLeaks went online in 2007 and was the creation of one man, Australian computer hacker - turned activist and publisher Julian Assange. Benedict Cumberbatch does a remarkable job portraying the enigma that is Assange. In Cumberbatch's hands, Assange is a brilliant visionary... as well as arrogant, rude, manipulative, paranoid, self-righteous and definitely lacking in the social skills. He makes Apple Computers co-founder Steve Jobs look like a puppy dog. Daniel Bruehl plays Daniel Berg, a computer genius who hitches his wagon to Assange's rising star. Berg believes in Assange's goal of revealing the truth about powerful organizations, especially those corrupt, scandalous, embarrassing, or just uncomfortable truths which Assange, Berg and a small group of friends believe can make a difference if exposed to the light of day. Over time, however, Berg comes to see Assange for the man he really is and grows increasingly upset over what he sees as Assange's recklessness in publishing hundreds of thousands of leaked U.S. military and State Department documents and communications without redacting names and other information that, if made public, could endanger the lives of all kinds of people all over the world. That's where Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci and Anthony Mackey come in, as government officials trying to limit the damage from WikiLeaks releasing the biggest treasure trove of documents the website (or any organization) has received from a single source. That source was former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, eventually convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other crimes and sentenced to 35 years in prison (and has since assumed the identity Chelsea Manning).

This should be seen as an important movie, regardless of one's opinion of the people and events portrayed. First off, WikiLeaks (along with the connections established among people around the world on social media websites) helped lead to the Arab Spring and other significant political changes in many different countries over the few years following Manning's actions. Secondly, whether you agree or disagree with Assange's approach to journalism (or whether you even consider him a journalist at all), this movie raises important questions that existed before the world even heard of Julian Assange, will exist into the foreseeable future, and may never go away. When does the freedom of the press enshrined in the U.S. Constitution conflict with the basic human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence? Is there any way to hold people who post news on the internet accountable without violating our most treasured freedoms? Where is the line between whistle-blower and traitor - and who decides where to draw that line? This film suggests the importance of asking all these questions and more without coming right out and asking them. This film also avoids suggesting that there are any easy answers. As entertainment, many will find "The Fifth Estate" a bit dry, a bit long or both. The director does his best to keep the film engaging by getting the best out of his talented cast, editing and scoring the film to create tension and using creative settings and camera work to represent certain concepts and events in the story. However, the real strength of this film is in its educational value and its ability to get the audience to think about some significant issues that face our country and our world - right now, today - and aren't going away any time soon. At the end of the day, isn't that one of the things that we want (and really need) movies to do - at least some of the time? That is a question that I think this film does answer and that answer is a resounding "yes"! For the significance of this film, its execution and its overall entertainment value, I give "The Fifth Estate" a "B".
½ December 15, 2015
Perhaps it's too early to judge Julian Assange at this stage, but this film did explain why so many people dislike him. Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is great.
½ November 9, 2015
Took me about 3 attempts to get past the first 15 minutes of this movie. Once I got past that it was easier to get through the rest. Talented cast but the story about a sociopathic liar is not really that interesting. Or maybe the script is just not that well-written. I don't know anyone who liked this movie no matter how much we wanted to like it :(
October 26, 2015
A melodrama that's missing spark and energy. Bogged down with too much detail.
½ October 14, 2015
So this movie is pretty much as bland as it looks on the film poster. Benedict Cumberbatch's performance is unsurprisingly impressive but unfortunately he is surrounded by uninteresting characters who can't match his own charisma and more crucially an over complicated plot which is utterly boring. The pacing is horrible as the film never feels like it takes off. The script is very common and struggles under the melodramatic story. This movie is one to miss.
½ October 3, 2015
" I won`t buy this shit about Wikileaks inventor ".
½ September 27, 2015
-The Fifth Estate is a 2013 thriller film directed by Bill Condon, about the news-leaking website WikiLeaks. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as its editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange, and Daniel Brühl as its former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci, and Laura Linney are featured in supporting roles. The film's screenplay was written by Josh Singer based in-part on Domscheit-Berg's book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website (2011), as well as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy (2011) by British journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding. The film's name is a term used to describe the people who operate in the manner of journalists outside the normal constraints imposed on the mainstream media.
Co-produced by DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media, The Fifth Estate premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival,[8][9] and was released in theaters by Touchstone Pictures in the United States on October 18, 2013, with international distribution divided among Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, and independent arrangements by Mister Smith Entertainment.[11][12] The film performed poorly at the box office and garnered mixed critical reaction, receiving criticism for its screenplay and direction; however, praise was given on the acting, particularly Cumberbatch's performance.
Julian Assange has described the film as a "massive propaganda attack", he did discuss the film with Benedict Cumberbatch, with Cumberbatch claiming that he's "personally supportive" of the organization.

Critical response:

-The Fifth Estate received mixed reviews from film critics. The film currently holds a 37% approval rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 163 reviews with an average rating of 5.4/10. The site's consensus reads: "Heavy on detail and melodrama but missing the spark from its remarkable real-life inspiration, The Fifth Estate mostly serves as a middling showcase for Benedict Cumberbatch's remarkable talent." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 49 based on 42 reviews, indicating "mixed to average" reception. It received an average grade of "B" from market-research firm CinemaScore. Despite the film's mixed reception, Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Assange has received much praise.
½ September 23, 2015
Interesting performances and style don't seem to make up for this confused, unsure effort. It's clear that the filmmakers don't understand the technical aspects of their subject, and they assume that the audience fits in the same boat (too much over-explaining). The film is intriguing as a depiction true, fascinating events (though its historicity does come into question at times), but it needs to push harder with its visual styles and themes in order to be anything other than the mundane, derivative "thriller" that it is.
August 29, 2015
It's a fascinating story with talented actors and a good director, but somehow it just doesn't fully come together. I can't quite pinpoint the problem, but it just doesn't quite seem tight enough in the storytelling. I did find it at least worth a watch though, if for nothing else, then at least for the strong performance from Cumberbatch.
½ August 14, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch, bless his heart, is a great actor and he does a perfectly serviceable portrayal of Julian Assange, but the movie itself commits the cardinal sin of making what could have been a riveting narrative a dull and plodding slog of a film. THE FIFTH ESTATE is about how WikiLeaks got started and covers some of their biggest leaks up to the release of the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs. Most of the focus is on the relationship between Daniel Berg (Daniel Bruhl) and Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and how they have a falling out. While this might have been a critical part of the WikiLeaks story, the way it played out onscreen didn't exactly make for the most compelling drama. There were also some detours into Berg's personal life as well a limited international look at the effect these leaks had in various countries, to include the US. Still, I had hopes that this movie would be this generation's equivalent of something like THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, but it simply isn't. While the performances are all capable, and the ensemble cast that Bill Condon rounded up is fairly impressive, the narrative lacks the proper focus and doesn't adequately portray the gravity of what is being presented. Other issues include pacing and attempts at being current and tech-savvy that just come off as distracting. The material is presented almost in documentary-like fashion, down to the handheld camerawork, but nothing in the central story is given much context, outside of American embarrassment at having their secret diplomatic cables released. There was also little insight given into Assange's character that could have made him more relatable. Instead, we get a portrait of a rather sad and lame individual. As far as the technical qualities are concerned, there really isn't anything to complain about but there really isn't anything that makes it stand out either. The music, which included lots of electronica, was alright but it wasn't anything I particularly loved. Overall, this was a rather disappointing watch due to the pedestrian approach it took. Your time would be better spent watching WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS, a documentary on the material that is dramatically presented here.
August 11, 2015
Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st centuryâ
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