Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Empire Blogs
Words From The Wise

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Toronto 2013: The Fifth Estate

Posted on Friday September 6, 2013, 15:38 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Toronto 2013: The Fifth Estate

Julian Assange, cooped up in the Ecuadorian Embassy, already feels like yesterday’s news, upstaged by Edward Snowden and his flight to Hong Kong, never mind Bradley Manning and his post-lock-up gender reassignment plans. And so does the opening night film of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival; called The Fifth Estate, it is a turgid political drama with very little politics or drama. It’s the sort of film where the characters try to drum up some excitement by exclaiming what’s happening in a quivering state of excitement, hoping that maybe they can make a silk purse out of what is effectively a film about some people seeing some emails they weren’t supposed to see (there is no physical macguffin).
 
One could argue that The Social Network didn’t have much fibre either, but that film really IS All The President’s Men compared to this. It begins with a montage of ancient writing techniques, before zipping into a clichéd voyage into the future, with lots of computer screens, lots of ticker-tape coding and lots and lots of clacking. Carte Burwell’s score starts as it means to go on; unusually for this master of the leitmotiv, this is all bombast, never underscoring the drama but, if anything, drawing attention away from it by being so bloody loud.
 
The story itself is the dinner-party version of Julian Assange’s story, how he came to found the controversial website Wikileaks, liaise with The Guardian newspaper and finally “betray” them (the film has it both ways) as his ego got ever more out of control. It stops short of the Swedish rape allegations (which, in itself, almost negates the film entirely). Instead, director Bill Condon tries to inject life into a dead duck in much the same way as Sir Ian McKellern tried to resuscitate the DOA Da Vinci Code: lots of BIG gestures to distract from the script’s drab, self-important tale of the much as we expected.
 
There is, of course, a film to be made about Assange, and two already have – Alex Gibney’s doc We Steal Secrets and Robert Connolly’s excellent origins story Underground, both of which are way better than this. In its defence, one can point to very good performances by Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange and Daniel Bruhl as his right-hand man Daniel Berg, but for a two-hour movie this is not enough recompense for the genuinely interesting ideas that go whooshing past while everybody dwells on the fact that Assange is all about exposing state secrets while – wow, did you know this? – claiming a right to privacy for himself.
 
It doesn’t even get the Guardian’s offices right. But that really is the very least of its problems.

Login or register to comment.

Currently No Comments

Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

CATEGORIES

Empire States (443)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Comic-Con Videblogisode 4
By Amar Vijay

Comic-Con Videblogisode 3
By Amar Vijay

Comic-Con Schwag Spotlight
By Amar Vijay

Panel Report: Captain America, Thor and The Avengers
By James Dyer

Panel Report: Cowboys & Aliens
By James White

Panel Report: Paul
By James White

Panel Report: Priest
By James White

Panel Report: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
By James White

Comic-Con Videblogisode 1
By James Dyer

Panel Report: The Other Guys
By James Dyer


RECENT COMMENTS

Comic-Con Schwag Spotlight
"Why would a WW2-era Wolverine have adamantium on his claws?"  spacemonkey187
Read comment

Panel Report: Priest
"welcome __ __ ( b2cshop. us )Love shopping friend`Please copy-pasting   trdtrfcvgyh
Read comment

Comic-Con Videblogisode 2
"So, I know... what I'll do is, 1) queue up from 5am in the morning to get a good seat in"  Thumbsucker
Read comment

Comic-Con Videblogisode 4
"C'mon, you swines, spill - how the HELL did you get rooms in the M******t? I'm guessing the greasing"  Thumbsucker
Read comment

Panel Report: Captain America, Thor and The Avengers
"Thank you Gooner, seriously, because up until reading this thread i thought my opinions were the mos"  Bizz90
Read comment

Comic-Con Videblogisode 4
"Thank you, TimEdwards!!!"  willkillyoulast
Read comment

Comic-Con Videblogisode 3
"Whose arm was that punching Chris? That was a niiiice arm. :D"  ChocolateDoughnut
Read comment

Comic-Con Videblogisode 4
"i have to go to this thing before i die! thank you for sharing, you guys are awesome :D<"  snikendeullteppe
Read comment

Panel Report: Megamind
"I really enjoyed Date Night. Obviously not up to 30 Rock standards but a good mainstream comedy; alt"  Medion
Read comment

Panel Report: Green Lantern, Harry Potter and Sucker Punch
"did u just write the spoiler ronicolxuo? I don't know if you're sicker for doing that or sadder for "  gazpop
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Panel Report: Captain America, Thor and The Avengers
42 comments

Comic-Con Videblogisode 4
23 comments

Comic-Con Videblogisode 3
10 comments

Comic-Con Videblogisode 1
8 comments

Comic-Con Schwag Spotlight
6 comments

Panel Report: The Other Guys
2 comments

Panel Report: Megamind
2 comments

Panel Report: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
1 comments

Panel Report: Priest
1 comments

Panel Report: Salt
1 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (298)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Will Lawrence (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Showrunner Beau Willimon Reveals 8 House Of Cards Secrets
On Kevin Spacey’s dog-dispatching and more…

21 Great Movie Cons
Fleece your friends with these duplicitous devices...

Empire Podcast 150: Margot Robbie
The Focus (and Wolf Of Wall Street) star from the Top Gear track...

Empire's New Spectre Issue Covers
First look at Bond 24 in Empire's April issue

Vote For The Jameson Empire Awards 2015!
Your mission is clear...

Sleeping Beauties: The Story Behind 12 Of Cinema's Unlikeliest Hits
They came, they saw, they surprisingly conquered

Writer / Director Dan Gilroy Reveals 8 Nightcrawler Secrets
On Jake Gyllenhaal's hand-slicing mirror smash and more...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)