Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
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 (439)

Under The Radar (317)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (35)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


RECENT POSTS

Not For The Faintheart(ed)
By Damon Wise

The Transsiberian Connection
By Damon Wise

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
By Damon Wise

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
By Damon Wise

It's That Guy From That Thing
By Damon Wise

It's Not All Work Work Work
By Damon Wise

The Dopeness Of The Wackness
By Damon Wise

Busy, busy, busy...
By Damon Wise

Poncey Drinks, Torture Porn And Fairy Cakes
By Damon Wise

In Pictures: Keira And Sienna At The Festival
By Amar Vijay


RECENT COMMENTS

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"When do we get it though? Having seen the trailer so many months ago I'm desperate to see it.  r1x
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Apparently Tarsem told the little girl in the Fall that Lee Pace really was paralysed which made her"  spyro
Read comment

The Transsiberian Connection
"Session 9 is a great film! If it wasn't the the silly ending, it would be a modern Horror classic"  Cethan
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Completely agree on The Fall. Almost certainly my favorite film so far this year."  Will Goss
Read comment

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
"Nice write-up on The Fall. I decided many months ago that I was looking forward to this, despite the"  Acho
Read comment

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
"Meadows is a bit of a legend alright. Dead Man's Shoes is being shown in Dublin this weekend, as par"  Acho
Read comment

It's That Guy From That Thing
"I feel like I've been hearing about the visitor for months. Damn festival circuit, getting to see th"  Acho
Read comment

An Australian In Edinburgh
"I didn't know you're Australian Sam. No reason why I should've, I guess. Any chan"  Acho
Read comment

Just Listen To That Serenity...
"Hiam Abbass was at the showing at the weekend? GUTTED. Saw it earlier this week and I've been dying "  Daniel!
Read comment

It's That Guy From That Thing
"The Visitor was a good film, very good at points, but it did threaten in its first act to become a m"  Daniel!
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Ride The Wave And Take The Fall
4 comments

Busy, busy, busy...
3 comments

It's That Guy From That Thing
2 comments

When Damo Met Shane Meadows
2 comments

Poncey Drinks, Torture Porn And Fairy Cakes
2 comments

The Transsiberian Connection
1 comments

The Dopeness Of The Wackness
1 comments


BLOGGERS
Damon Wise (297)
Helen O'Hara (167)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (19)
Owen Williams (15)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
Ian Nathan (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
David Parkinson (1)

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video Interviews: The Stars And Directors Talk As Above, So Below
We talked to Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and company about their underground horror…

The Future Of Film: All Big Blockbusters Will Be Shot At 48 FPS
Our month-long series begins discussing the innovations that will shape cinema

Video Interviews: Chloe Grace Moretz And Jamie Blackley Talk If I Stay
The stars, director R.J. Cutler and co-star Joshua Leonard talk YA adaptations

Gillian Robespierre And Jenny Slate Talk Obvious Child
Director and star on their acclaimed rom-com

The Empire Podcast #126: Jon Hamm Talks Million Dollar Arm, Mad Men And Beards
Plus Richard Ayoade pops in to talk about directing The Double

15 Of The Weirdest TV Cameos Of All Time
From Michael Palin in Home And Away to Ian McKellen in Corrie

Updated: The 36 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

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 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! 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  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)