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Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate

3.0 2
Director: Bill Condon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie

Cast: Bill Condon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie


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Bill Condon's thriller The Fifth Estate charts the creation of WikiLeaks by the ambitious and arguably ethically dubious Julian Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The movie opens with Assange hiring Daniel Domscheit-Berg (


Bill Condon's thriller The Fifth Estate charts the creation of WikiLeaks by the ambitious and arguably ethically dubious Julian Assange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The movie opens with Assange hiring Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl), a fellow tech whiz, to help him keep his new website operational. The site gave whistleblowers an entirely anonymous platform to share classified documents, and soon the pair find themselves in possession of information that will bring down a corrupt bank. As their power and influence grows, they must consider teaming with established media sources, especially when they are sent documents that would reveal ultra-sensitive state secrets from some of the world's most-powerful governments. The Fifth Estate screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
From news reports, it would seem that there are few people as influential, infamous, and unknowable as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Director Bill Condon's biopic of Assange, The Fifth Estate, depicts how he became one of the most feared, despised, and -- in some quarters -- lionized figures in the fight for free speech in the digital age, but it doesn't bring us any closer to what makes him tick. Opening with a sharply constructed montage that gives us the history of mass communications from cave paintings to the Internet, the movie wastes little time establishing how Assange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) created WikiLeaks, a website where whistle-blowers could share information so secretly that even Assange himself had no way of knowing who the source was. He enlists the help of fellow tech whiz Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) as his trusted lieutenant, though Daniel quickly learns that his egotistical, ambitious, and ceaselessly self-righteous boss requires his attention at every waking moment. The site becomes more popular after they publish stories that bring down a major bank, leading to the arrival of a massive number of secret government memos that, if exposed, would bring to light the realities of how the War on Terror is being fought by America and its allies. While Daniel encourages Julian to work with established news sources -- personified by London Times reporter Nick Davies (David Thewlis) -- to bring this sensitive material to the public, officials in the U.S. State Department (Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci) attempt to neutralize Assange and the damage that airing this info would do to their ongoing efforts. An equal mix of All the President's Men and The Social Network, The Fifth Estate doesn't lack for ambition. Condon understands that this is a complicated story that consists primarily of people typing on their computers. He does his best to make such static imagery interesting, and comes up with an intriguing and humorous visual conceit that drives home how small the WikiLeaks operation actually is; except for the obligatory scenes of domestic squabbling between Daniel and his neglected girlfriend, the movie feels like it's moving forward even when not much is actually happening within the narrative. Cumberbatch is appropriately mysterious as Assange: He plays him as a man who isn't so much charismatic as he is compelling. His messianic zeal when it comes to changing the world slowly reveals itself to be as ego-driven as it is selfless. The movie's best moment comes right at the very end as Assange, holed up in Ecuador's embassy in Britain, gives an interview that reveals -- with a little aside he can't help himself from making -- how much he wants credit for what he's done. It's a savvy performance, but this element of the script -- the biographical focus on Assange -- is the least developed and least interesting. As a movie character, he doesn't change over the course of the film, even as Daniel does evolve. The picture works on the whole because it expertly and entertainingly lays out exactly how this complicated international brouhaha transpired, and how these events led to Daniel's disillusionment with his employer (the movie is based in part on his memoir of his time with Assange -- and Assange himself has gone on record regarding his negative feelings about The Fifth Estate). Because Condon and screenwriter Josh Singer make the mistake of focusing their movie's emotional arc on someone who isn't their most interesting character, The Fifth Estate doesn't grip us as forcefully as it feels like it should. However, when the third act kicks in and Assange and company have to figure out how to deal with the highly classified documents in their possession, the movie is at its best. It makes an intricate web of deception, fear, and betrayal quite easy to understand, with Linney providing gravitas and Tucci on hand for some welcome, if brief, comic relief. As the characters debate the ethics of what should be done, Singer lets them articulate the big questions at the heart of the picture. The Fifth Estate is far from the definitive portrait of Assange and his accomplishments, in part because it doesn't answer the questions it so fascinatingly poses. It lacks the psychological insight of David Fincher's biopic of Mark Zuckerberg, as well as the weight of history and the palpable paranoia of Alan J. Pakula's recreation of the Watergate investigations. Yet it does possess the unmistakable buzz of topicality that makes it feel like more than just a solidly made, well-acted docudrama.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

The submission platform - enter the room where the secrets are kept and see it come to life, form first inspiration, through filming and beyond.; Trailers and TV spots

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Benedict Cumberbatch Julian Assange
Daniel Brühl Daniel Domscheit-Berg
Anthony Mackie Sam Coulson
David Thewlis Nick Davies
Alicia Vikander Anke Domscheit-Berg
Stanley Tucci James Boswell
Laura Linney Sarah Shaw
Peter Capaldi Alan Rusbridger
Dan Stevens Ian Katz
Carice van Houten Birgitta Jónsdóttir
Anatole Taubman Holger Stark
Alexander Beyer Marcel Rosenbach
Philip Bretherton Bill Keller
Jamie Blackley Ziggy
Ludger Pistor Supervisor
Michael Kranz Otto
Christin Nichols Otto's Girlfriend
Christoph Franken Game Console Hacker
Ben Rook Young Julian
Lucinda Raikes Julian's Mother
Marleen Lohse Tacheles Waitress
Silvie Rohrer Zilke's Assistant
Michael Culkin Ralph Zilke
Axel Milberg Hans
Joseph Kintua Muriuki John Paul Oulu
Peter King Nzioki Oscar Kamau Kingara
Lukas Piloty German Reporter
Thomas Ancora French Reporter
Phil Kaiser Rental Agent
Moritz Bleibtreu Marcus
Jeany Spark Wired Reporter
John Schwab White House Staffer
Lisa Kreuzer East Berlin Woman
Philipp Langenegger Der Spiegel Reporter
Cornelia Ivancan WikiLeaks Fan #1
Martin Glade WikiLeaks Fan #2
Franziska Walser Daniel's Mother
Edgar Selge Daniel's Father
Alexander Siddig Dr. Tarek Haliseh
Michael Jibson Irritated Reporter
Lydia Leonard Alex Lang
William French Aide
Darren Evans Private Manning
Kyle Soller Young Staffer
Nigel Whitmey General Thomason
Sonya Cassidy Alan's Secretary
Chris McKinney Times Reporter
John Moraitis Bearded Times Reporter
Christian Contreras Times War Correspondent
Camilla Rutherford Guardian Lawyer
Milena Karas Der Spiegel Reporter #1
Birger Frehse Der Spiegel Reporter #2
Eben Young Diplomat #1
Avye Leventis Diplomat #2
Rachel Handshaw State Department Staffer #1
Guy Paul State Department Staffer #2
Simon Connolly State Department Staffer #3
Amr El-Bayoumi General
Amir Boutrous Mutassim Al-Gaddafi
Mimi Ferrer Shida Haliseh
Fares Ahmed Alahmadi Driver
Wilfred Maina Man on Phone
Mounir Margoum Border Guard
Gudmundur Thorvaldsson WikiLeaks Staffer #1
Hera Hilmar Wikileaks Staffer #2
CinSyla Key Airplane Passenger
David Akinloye Airline Passenger
Pascaline Crêvecoeur Bar's Woman

Technical Credits
Bill Condon Director
Lucy Bevan Casting
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Shay Cunliffe Costumes/Costume Designer
Hilde de Laere Co-producer
Lucky Englander Casting
Fritz Fleischhacker Casting
Steve Golin Producer
Paul Green Executive Producer
Virginia Katz Editor
Jonathan King Executive Producer
Mareike Mohmand Makeup
Rocco Rimez Makeup
Tobias Schliessler Cinematographer
Dennis Schnegg Art Director
Annet Schulze Makeup
Hemal Shah Production Manager
Richard Sharkey Executive Producer
Warren Shaw Sound/Sound Designer
Aslaug Cookie Sigurdardóttir Makeup
Josh Singer Screenwriter
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Michael Sugar Producer
Mark Tildesley Production Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Fifth Estate
1. Opening Titles [5:50]
2. One Moral Man, One Whistleblower [:02]
3. You Can Trust Me [4:20]
4. First Assignment [2:04]
5. Army Of Two [2:44]
6. The Veil Of Secrecy [4:31]
7. You Will Never Be Him [:28]
8. True Commitment [5:09]
9. Breaking Through [1:05]
10. Nom De Guerre [4:08]
11. Spooks [3:50]
12. Collateral Murder [:47]
13. The Biggest Leak In History [5:01]
14. We Publish In Full [:24]
15. Blood On Their Hands [4:37]
16. Destruction Of The Platform [1:44]
17. A Fifth Estate [3:11]
18. End Credits [4:52]
19. Chapter 19 [5:19]
20. Chapter 20 [1:11]
21. Chapter 21 [3:45]
22. Chapter 22 [1:22]
23. Chapter 23 [3:28]
24. Chapter 24 [4:32]
25. Chapter 25 [:30]
26. Chapter 26 [4:56]
27. Chapter 27 [:24]
28. Chapter 28 [4:40]
29. Chapter 29 [4:57]
30. Chapter 30 [1:56]
31. Chapter 31 [3:02]
32. Chapter 32 [4:17]
33. Chapter 33 [:44]
34. Chapter 34 [5:33]
35. Chapter 35 [2:04]
36. Chapter 36 [2:20]
37. Chapter 37 [5:06]
38. Chapter 38 [:47]
39. Chapter 39 [4:22]
40. Chapter 40 [2:29]
41. Chapter 41 [5:23]


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The Fifth Estate 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago