Assange was in the news every week for his and his site’s actions and decisions, such as publishing the Afghan War Logs and leaking thousands of American diplomatic cables to the public. And while The Fifth Estate (or, for whatever reason, The 5ifth Estate) covers these and more, it never gets around to offering any sort of textured look at Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock) that viewers may have expected.
Despite being based on two texts—Daniel Domscheit-Burg’s (who is portrayed by Rush’s Daniel Brühl) “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website” and David Leigh and Luke Harding’s “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”—The Fifth Estate never goes deep and doesn’t show Assange as anything more than an egomaniac who likes to party, walk around his “submission platform” and spew out any bumper sticker quote that he feels will make him look good in front of others. There is just no dimension or drama to be found in the entire two-plus hours of The Fifth Estate.
One of the biggest problems with the movie is that the story isn’t nearly finished. Just because Assange is “trapped” in London at the Ecuador embassy doesn’t mean that’s where the story ends. Director Bill Condon previously explored filmmaker James Whale in 1998’s Gods and Monsters and sexologist Alfred Kinsey in 2004’s Kinsey and turned out commendable movies, but he jumped the gun this time in his desire to be the one to get the big name onscreen and so has a thin product as a result.
In-Camera Graphics (6:25): This brief featurette looks at the way some of the text-based visuals were used.
Scoring Secrets (9:11) takes a look at composer Carter Burwell’s score.
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