Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Benedict Cumberbatch
Daniel Brühl
Peter Capaldi.
Directors
Bill Condon.
Screenwriters
Josh Singer.
Running Time
124 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

The Fifth Estate
Getting Wiki with it


submit to reddit


Plot
The rise and fall of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, told through the prism of the relationship between founder Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) and techie activist Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl).


Review
The Fifth Estate

Is The Fifth Estate a cunning ruse by the intelligence services to lure Julian Assange out of his embassy bolt-hole? Imagine the agony! The hottest young Hollywood talent acting out the story of your life and you can’t check it out. What kind of raging egomaniac could resist? Well, he’d be wise to try. Bill Condon’s account of the WikiLeaks brouhaha is a plodding and preachy film that treads well-worn ground without adding anything new or particularly animating what’s known.

Taking the story from the site’s early days, it charts the outfit’s initial headline-grabbing scoops, from the publishing of the membership of the BNP, complete with addresses and telephone numbers, to the Chelsea, née Bradley, Manning episode that brought the whole cyber-edifice crashing down. David Thewlis is mildly embarrassing as Nick Davies, a Guardian investigative hack prone to storming dramatically into meetings. Peter Capaldi, meanwhile, looks anxious and grips his chin a lot as editor Alan Rusbridger. Benedict Cumberbatch is effective as Assange, insofar as his performance is one-note and creepy, but Daniel Brühl struggles with the underwritten role of co-conspirator Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Condon, working from an uneven, pedestrian screenplay by ex-West Wing writer Josh Singer, at first attempts to give the piece a post-Bourne patina complete with jittery titles and insistent score (courtesy of Carter Burwell), but soon a fondness for hackneyed visual devices emerges. When Assange fiddles with his files, luminous characters skitter across his face. An effect Ridley Scott used to great effect in Alien. Nearly 40 years ago.

There are technical saving graces: Tobias A. Schliessler’s cinematography and Mark Tildeseley’s production design atmospherically conjure the throbbing techno clubs and coffee shops in which the plotters gather, while Condon gets the most out of his European locations, particularly the blasted alien moonscapes of Iceland against which Assange looks almost at home. In a The Man Who Fell To Earth kind of way.


Verdict
Disappointingly dull account of a tale desperately in need of a sharper screenplay and some directorial vim. Might as well wait for the Blu-ray, Jules.


Reviewed by Adam Smith


Related Reviews
Sounds
Fifth Estate, The
 

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Fifth Estate
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Fifth Estate

I enjoyed this. I don't know how accurate it is (will we ever?), but I found it thought to be both thought provoking and thrilling. The pursuit of truth has been, and will always be a noble and just cause, but does it also come with a level of responsibility? Benedict Cumberbatch (or CumberPatch as Cineworld would have you believe...) Julian Assange. ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 23:49, 17 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate is an engaging watch, even if it doesn't remain consistently accessible. The main problem seems to be, how do you really tell a story which isn't finished yet? It's nice to be able to sit back and watch from a non-judgemental point of view, but there's very little in here that hasn't been all over the news for the past couple of years. It's still got to be miles better than the 'blockbuster thriller' version that will inevitably come out, though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 22:26, 16 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Absolutely engrossing stuff

Julian Assange, who since November 2010 has been entrenched in the UK’s Ecuadorian embassy because if he leaves he will not only be extradited to Sweden under charges of sexual assault but may also be taken to the US to be prosecuted about his leaking of US diplomatic cables, has said that this film is a “lie” and “hostile”. Based on three books written by people who had beefs with Mr Assange, The Fifth Estate nly presents him as rather odd and not too nice a guy, being egotisital, sociopathic ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 12:36, 16 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Absolutely engrossing stuff

Agree with the above,except about Cumberbatch-this is his film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CriticNumberOne at 01:23, 15 October 2013 | Report This Post


Absolutely engrossing stuff

I sometimes wonder if Empire actually watch any movies they review. This was absolutely fantastic, and as close to an edge of the seat thriller as you could get for an internet whistle-blower story. The time just whisked past and credit has to go to the screenplay, it's electric. Cumberbatch as ever is just awesome, but special praise goes to Brühl, for once again this year, upstaging the lead actor, after his brilliant turn in Rush. Thoroughly satisfying and thoroughly recommended. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Azzurro06 at 18:25, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post


Nonsense!

This is not a 2 star film for a start! Cumberbatch owns the role,and it's a glitzy,mtv style modern masterpiece. It is anything but boring,given the subject matter is about computer geeks. A great debate piece about information and who should have access to it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CriticNumberOne at 17:07, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post


Nonsense!

This is not a 2 star film for a start! Cumberbatch owns the role,and it's a glitzy,mtv style modern masterpiece. It is anything but boring,given the subject matter is about computer geeks. A great debate piece about information and who should have access to it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by CriticNumberOne at 17:07, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  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)