I’m a journalist. Whenever there is a debate on any sort of ethical issue, I am all over it. When I first heard about “The Fifth Estate,” I was intrigued to learn how they would portray the entire WikiLeaks scandal.
First of all, Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is quite good. After seeing the film, I had to check out YouTube for some comparisons. Turns out is nearly spot-on. Applause for Cumberbatch.
The film also does a good job of letting the plot flow as a narrative, as a movie should. It portrays some of the parts of the WikiLeaks story that would otherwise not be shown, like the grungy, grimy underbelly of Assange’s world.
Do you remember when I said I was a journalist? During most of the film, I found myself saying, “but how do you know that?” Here is the answer:
The information comes from a book written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s former cohort behind the shroud of WikiLeaks anonymity. As you may or may not know, Domscheit-Berg and Assange did not get along so well, and eventually Assange cut him loose.
Clearly, this makes the entire premise of the movie seem tenuous at best. Because they don’t provide this key insight until the movie’s end, viewers spend the entire movie questioning what they’re watching.
The real-life Assange has also publicly criticized the film for its accuracy. Maybe that means something.
Cumberbatch excepted, “The Fifth Estate” is filled with petty melodrama and lacks character development.
For your own good, wait to see the film until it leaks onto your favorite torrenting website.
Contact CU Independent Entertainment Editor Patrick Fort at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.