The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 4 Minutes
Dr. Who Alert

Peter Capaldi, the newly appointed Dr. Who, has a small role in the film.

Based on Wikileaks and its controversial founder, The Fifth Estate was recently released on Blu-Ray combo pack. Since its theatrical run last year, the film has divided critics over everything from the screenplay to metaphorical special effects. One thing that certainly hasn't divided critics is the commanding performance of Benedict Cumberbatch who is on quite a streak when it comes to powerful roles. The Fifth Estate doesn't exactly live up to Cumberbatch's entertaining protrayal, but hardcore fans of the actor may still consider adding it to their collection.

Hacker Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek: Into Darkness) founded Wikileaks in 2006 with one thing in mind - social justice. Based upon two books on the subject, The Fifth Estate follows Julian and his partner Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl, Inglourious Basterds) as they rise to prominence on a worldwide scale. The pair eventually come to odds due to Julian's belief in free knowledge without thought of the possible consequences of any individuals involved. After releasing thousands of documents related to the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Government officials (including Stanley Tucci, The Hunger Games and Laura Linney, The Savages) quickly take notice. With the World looking on, can Julian and Daniel remain on the same page?

Having heard both good and bad things about The Fifth Estate, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the film. After a somewhat interesting first hour I quickly became bored with the story and visual style. Director Bill Condon really tries hard to impress the audience with technological graphics and Wikileaks' imaginary workplace. Rather than impressing, these poor attempts at special effects remind me of late 90's tech thrillers that already seemed outdated at the time of their release. Thankfully, Cumberbatch saves the film with his quirky portrayal of oddball Julian and really demands attention whenever onscreen. Linney and Tucci are exactly the opposite and seem absolutely bored with their limited roles. Special features include short looks at the score and graphics used in the film. In other words, this might as well have been a bare-bones release. The Fifth Estate is a disappointing look at a fascinating website and founder, but fans of Cumberbatch should still check it out. Rental Recommended.

Cody Endres
Review by Cody Endres
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