Director: Bill Condon and R.J. Cutler
Runtime: 124 min.
By now all of us are aware of the now infamous website Wikileaks.org and its controversial creator Julian Assange. What many of us are unaware of is where exactly did Wikileaks come from and exactly who is the man behind the website.
The folks at Disney picked up the rights to the film that is based on a combination of two tell all books about the site (Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy). The film while it had great early buzz began getting negative press up until its release on Friday that even included a personal letter from Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch assailing not only his work but the movie itself.
While the film itself is visually impressive in my opinion and shot from creative angles it feels as though it was film wanting or better yet trying to be like The Social Network. Sadly, that is as close to the quality of The Social Network as The Fifth Estate will get. Benedict Cumberbatch gives an impressive performance as the paranoid power and fame hungry Assange but even his acting skills can not help pull this film to the positive side of the review scale for me.
If the individuals at Disney had actually stuck to the book and had been able to transfer their quality to the big screen it is my opinion that The Fifth Estate could have been on many people’s Oscar’s list but sadly they decided to stray away from many of Assange’s controversial story lines including the sexual abuse allegations leveled against him that have led to his residency at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. I almost had the feeling as though Disney held back a significant amount of the information in the book that Assange is not a fan of in fear of some type of Wikileaks type retaliation.
Honestly I think the only other way that I would bother watching this movie again is if for some reason I had to seek refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy and could never leave again. Do yourself a favor and if you want to see the impressive acting skills of Cumberbatch put to good use, spend your money wisely and go see 12 Years A Slave.
Overall Grade: C-