The Fifth Estate (15)
by Bill Condon
Writers: Daniel Domscheit-Berg (book), David Leigh (book)
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Peter Capaldi, Carice
On general release from 11th October 2013
'The Fifth Estate isn't a documentary, but rather
a film intended to provoke thought and entertain'.
The Fifth Estate is a story about the rise of Wikileaks. The story begins
as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch ) and his colleague
Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl) team up and go underground to expose
the dark activities of the privileged and powerful. With virtually no
money, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously
leak covert data, exposing the dark recesses of government secrets and
corporate crimes. Soon, they are exposing a catalogue of misdemeanours
working in collaboration with the Guardian. But when Assange and Berg
gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents
in U.S. history, they battled with each other and posed a defining question
of our time: "What are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society
and what are the costs of exposing them?"
The Fifth Estate is a thriller. It is a good intense film, showing the
shocking activities of states across the world. Like many thrillers it
has a love affair, it has attractive women, the computer geeks are cool,
but the Julian Assange character is shown primarily in a negative light,
warts and all. He is portrayed as an egotistical control freak. The film,
I would argue, makes out it is Assange, due to his own selfishness, and
not the US establishment, that is responsible for his demise, with the
rape allegations touched on towards the end of the film.
The Wikileaks website asserts that The Fifth Estate is "a work of
fiction masquerading as fact," adding that "most of the events
depicted never happened," and "it invents or shapes the facts
to fit its narrative goals."
It goes on to describe the "falsehoods" in detail, and cites
interviews with Cumberbatch to support claims that director Bill Condon
had an anti-WikiLeaks agenda.
Despite this, the movie is a good introduction to people who may not
know anything about the important Wikileaks exposes. It's a good thriller,
but the viewer has to take into account that the film is subjective and
based partly on the book written by Assange's former colleague Daniel
Comment left by Redskye on 16th October, 2013 at 10:25
Great review, fair and balanced, especially in light of the attacks on WikiLeaks and attempts to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden with the real threat of him then being sent to the US for interrogation.