Film Review: The Fifth Estate

Two sides to a story? Always. Example - Ned Kelly, one side calls him a hero that stood up to a corrupt police department, the other a murderer and a thief. The arguments for both sides continue.

For the continuing saga that is Julian Assange and Wikileaks?

Probably a lot more than two.

This creates interesting debate, but for filmmakers trying to create a good film, it's a dilemma. Which side do you focus on? (Or sides?)

The whole Assange/Wikileaks is now multifaceted and ever changing. Trying to pin it down, would require superhuman speed and he's busy. Bill Condon directs, he has previously directed Dreamgirls and Kinsey, but is probably best known for having directed the last two Twilight films. Something that may connect him to the subject of this film, best known for something you would prefer not to be. (Twilight fans, don't hate me, I enjoyed those films as much as you)

For Mr Condon, we will call it "inspiration" - he went to two books, the first entitled "Inside Wikileaks: My time with Julian Assange at the world's most dangerous website" written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the second "Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's war on secrecy" written by David Leigh and Luke Harding.

The screenplay was written by Josh Singer, one of the writers of The West Wing, who had the unenviable task of gathering the information from the above books, (both of which Mr Assange has claimed are full of lies) and making a good story.

This is in no small part due to the completely brilliant portrayal of Mr Assange by Benedict Cumberbatch. His performance, much like his accent, (the Australian accent is probably the most realistic and flawless I've heard since Liev Schreiber's in Mental) never once falters or falls out of step. And no, I am not just saying that for the one small dance scene in the film that ranks up there with the dance scene in the second season of Orphan Black, he is a terrific actor and this performance, like his others, are all deserving of some kind of award. Or awards.

The supporting cast is no less great, Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Berg, a collaborator of sorts with Mr Cumberbatch's Julian Assange (who wrote one of the above books that the film is based on), Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci and Anthony Mackie in America dealing with the backlash that Wikileak's leaking creates. And Peter Capaldi and David Thewlis as British journalists.

Despite getting some poor reviews, I think it's a great film. It is like Mr Assange himself, it breeds discussion on the issues raised and sticks with you, long after viewing.


  1. This quote comes from a film that is also based on real events and people.
    And one of the actors is also in both.
    “James Hunt: I feel responsible for what happened.
    Niki Lauda: You would... but trust me: watching you win those races, while I was fighting for my life, you were equally responsible for getting me back in the car.”


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