I saw The Fifth Estate today. When I got home I did a little researching and apparently critics have become married to the idea that the film is no good and is not worth the time it would take to see. This in turn inspired me to write this post to combat all the negativity and hopefully negate the idea that this movie is not worth your time. Hopefully, my views as an average person and not a paid movie critic will shine through. (**Note- There aren’t any spoilers, so after you read this and decide to go see the movie know that it won’t be ruined)
Anyway, the moral of this is: go see The Fifth Estate!
For anyone potentially reading this and thinking what the heck is The Fifth Estate – The Fifth Estate is DreamWorks newest biopic that tells the story of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his companion Daniel Berg. The film takes viewers through the organization’s inception and on through the beyond controversial leak of confidential U.S. documents in 2010. (Well that is the most basic summary of it anyway)
Now that we are all caught up, I want to start by saying when this controversy happened I was a junior in High School who was more wrapped up wondering if she would get asked to the Homecoming dance than worrying about little things like breaking national news. Yet today I have grown into a person who has become so fascinated by communication of information in this world, that they want to base the rest of their life and career around it. If you share that perspective you will like this movie as much as I do.
That being said it is important to note that this film beautifully illustrates the evolution of communication in a way that is not only intelligently delivered, but also thought provoking.
Moving right along, it seems that the biggest problems critics are having with this cinematic beauty is its refusal to tear apart and condemn the life and actions of computer programmer turned journalist, Julian Assange. However, therein lies the best part about it! While many may see this as a lack of depth on director Bill Condon’s part, it actually proves just the opposite. They fail to see that the point of the movie is not to be a biography on the life of Julian Assange, but rather to eloquently address the events and lives that were affected by him, by showing the progression of communication in the 21st century. Ironically Assange himself is often condemned for publishing content that negatively affected people’s lives, which seems to be is all critics want to see. The movie was not created to ruin his life, only to spark a debate on the ethical ideals it is representing.
This brings me nicely to Benedict Cumberbatch. Wow. This man is one of the most underappreciated actors ever. Underappreciated as he may be, there are few in the world that are as phenomenal at what they do as him. His portrayal of Assange himself was not only spot on, but conveyed him in a truly dimensional manner that only Benedict could have delivered. He meticulously works not to vilify or condemn a man who is easily condemnable in the eyes of many people. Instead, he presents Assange as a human being and not the information anarchist people often assume him to be. In the future when you see Benedict Cumberbatch’s name attached to a movie know that it will be something of quality.
When the movie ended and the theatre lights came dimly back on we all just sat in our chairs unmoving. I could almost hear everyone’s minds whirring and trying to process what they had just seen. I have never been to a movie before in my life where everyone sat there in awe when it ended, unsure if they should clap or stand or speak. It was wonderful.
In a world where films are churned out by the hundreds with the sole purpose of grossing millions of dollars and attracting people to the box office with meaningless explosions and love stories, this movie stands alone in the fact that it is one of the only things out right now that will truly inspire you to think about the way the world works around you.
Side note to all you movie critics- I love David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin just as much as the rest of you! Their focused and insightful production was cinema gold and worth every nomination in my opinion. But how can you let such a basic comparison blur the deeper meanings of this movie?!
So go see it. Be a free thinker and don’t be bullied by the negativity of critics. It’s worth it, I promise!