Let me be honest, for a minute, before I start this review (which will remain spoiler free) - I'm not a fan of political films/thrillers. I will watch and tolerate them, and some of them are very good, but they are just not my cup of tea. When The Fifth Estate was announced, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, it piqued my interest. Could it be that this would be the one film that would allow me to become interested in political films? The answer is a very large no.
Bill Condon took inspiration from two books, one by Assange's former right hand man, and created The Fifth Estate. The plot (and numerous subplots) are intertwining, and it is easy to get confused. By the end of the film, we know nothing that we didn't already know. The general plot is jumpy, with a great lack of consistency and holes gaping left, right, and centre. While brutally weak, the film does highlight several critical things. It shows us how news and media are relayed to us, and how we should be thinking for ourselves, instead of believing everything that we are told.
There was a lot of buzz around Benedict's performance and even a tip for Oscar (which, by the way, he didn't get,) it is obvious as to why. He portrays Assange as how one may possibly perceive the real life figure to be - narcissistic, rude, big headed, with a misguided intention to change the world. Daniel brings a breath of fresh air to the film. Daniel immerses himself into the role, leading the viewer to believe, that he is actually Domscheit-Berg. One of the main highlights of the film is watching Bruhl's performance evolve.
It's been a week since I saw the film and my opinion still has not changed. Those who know me know I love movies. Even the films I don't enjoy, I will still watch. With The Fifth Estate, however - it was a completely different story. Not once have I ever checked my watch so often, in hopes that the film would soon be over. I have also never considered, and I very nearly did so, walking out of a movie - not because of the political theme, but because it was so poorly done. This film fan does not love this film
The Fifth Estate is out now on DVD