Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2013

‘The Fifth Estate’ Review: Benedict Cumberbatch never gets a chance to shine

Part biography and part political thriller, The Fifth Estate brings Julian Assange and Wikileaks to the big screen in a film juiced with too much information for most viewers.

© 2013 DreamWorks II Distribution; LLC

© 2013 DreamWorks II Distribution; LLC

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Assange alongside his key supporter and “co-founder” Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) beginning with nothing and becoming the massive Wikileaks website, famous for leaking over 90,000 US military documents.

A whirlwind of camera shots during the creation of the website and “techy side” of investigative journalism becomes a more interesting political thriller puttiing Assange in the center of a moral dilemma.

The decision to release the thousands and thousands of US documents even though it may put lives in danger reveals a great moral challenge for the audience.

Sadly Benedict Cumberbatch never gets to stretch his acting chops with his portrayal of Assange. He captures the mannerisms and odd personality traits which have become evident in the press conference and speeches delivered by Assange over the years.

Brühl is very good as the central character driving the story, but there’s not enough meat to the script to warrant any special recognition. The same can be said for a great supporting cast, but the only real achievement on screen is the sneak peek at journalists’ battling the evolution of Internet news.

After two hours of a film suffering from an identity crisis, the audience final is spoon fed the meaning behind the film’s title and a concluding sequence of updates and Cumberbatch clips detailing what has transpired since 2010.

The-Fifth-Estate Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian AssangeOverall the film is not a good fit for mass consumption, but should serve as a great conversation starter and educator for anyone who has missed the WikiLeaks phenomenon over the last five years.

Most fans will feel overwelmed by massive amounts of information with little reward at the end of their journey:  2 out of 5 stars.

If you are interested in news, working journalism or already know a lot about Julian Assange and Wikileaks: overall 3 out of 5 stars.

The Fifth Estate opens in theaters October 18, 2013.

FYI: Julian Assange has been vocal about his opposition to the representation in the film – read more from the WikiLeaks site here


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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. […] with Gregory Bernstein and Sara Bernstein to recount Gun as a heroic whistleblower, much like The Fifth Estate did for Julian Assange. Hood adds a great cast (Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Adam Bakri, Indira […]

  2. Dispatch Radio: Global Dispatch News, Duellyn Pandis on flu shots, travel health and Mike Smith with Movie News - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Review: The Fifth Estate […]

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