User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40

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  1. Jan 24, 2014
    6
    Visually, “The Fifth Estate” looks great. The cast is nothing but talented people doing an amazing job (especially Daniel Brühl and Benedict Cumberbatch). The music perfectly compliments the visuals and the editing is just fantastic. However, the story lacks the drama and tension it really needed and just fell completely flat. While not entirely terrible, the movie wasted its potential and is just average and, sort of, forgettable…the complete opposite of the controversy WikiLeaks started. Expand
  2. Jan 15, 2014
    7
    Leaving the cinema I felt pleased having learnt about something I knew little about and had questions needing answers. Certainly the story behind the events, whether entirely accurate or not, got me thinking. Any film that achieves this is definitely worth your money.

    Particularly thought provoking was the ethics of editing information we receive. We see towards the end of the film we
    see Julian and Daniel talking with the Guardian journalists. They were asking for names to be omitted from the info being released which Julian said his volunteers would work on removing. However we and Daniel Berg knew there weren't any. So I ask you: would you edit the information and if you do where do you stop? Or do you remain steadfastly unbiased in releasing entirely accurate truthful information regardless of cost? I don't know which I'd choose however it did make me wonder if information is sometimes edited for our betterment, to protect us, or to keep us ignorant.

    More importantly this film made me want to find out the truth for myself and see We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks.
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  3. Jan 13, 2014
    8
    Very good movie, i like it. Very good acting, it's very underrated. The trurth is power & Wikileaks is power. Really nice movie. Telling the truth. I like it very so much..
  4. Oct 25, 2013
    4
    Disappointing because he is such an impactful actor on the world stage but the movie didn't seem to convey a complete view of him. I found it choppy and some of the "fades" into imagined large work room with empty desks were a distraction and silly. But the film prompted me to do some research to find out more information julian. Hope someone else will make another movie on him.
  5. Oct 20, 2013
    0
    I don't know why you wanna call this a WikiLeak movie, unfortunately for The Fifth Estate, it's not gonna get any Oscars for this mess. Benedict Cumberbatch should've even be playing a hacking founder of WikiLeaks and said "The got his back." Unfortunately for him, this will be the only movie you should not see. It's a bomb, for real. One of the worst movies of 2013 so far.
  6. Oct 19, 2013
    5
    The Fifth Estate does get a boost from a pretty stellar supporting cast, including Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci and Anthony Mackie all playing top U.S. State Dept. and White House officials; Game of Thrones star Carice van Houten and Run Lola Run star Moritz Bleibtreu as fellow WikiLeaks employees; and David Thewlis (Harry Potter) and Peter Capaldi (In the Loop) as top editors at big-name newspapers. With a cast that strong, Condon manages to spread the focus around without the viewer necessarily noticing (or complaining about) the very real real fact that things are being spread wide, because there is little depth to offer when it comes to the central two players: Berg and Assange. In the end, The Fifth Estate is best suited as exploratory viewing for anyone looking to get a crash-course overview on what all the WikiLeaks fuss was about. Then again, it would probably be faster to just look it up on Wikipedia. Go figure. Expand
  7. Oct 19, 2013
    5
    It's that bad of a movie, but it really just never can really get up to that hype that's been expected. To me it sometimes feels like it goes back and forth. For sure the beginning is slow, then after a while it picks itself backup, then it just flows back and forth. It almost felt like the director didn't know which direction to take this movie. Maybe he was too distracted from his days on working the final two "Twilight" movies. I don't know. Benedict Cumberbatch is really good as Julian Assange and so is Daniel Bruel, but they just don't have enough potentially to help save this movie, which was kind of sad. Overall, it's a movie that has a continuous mixed flow. Expand
  8. Oct 19, 2013
    7
    Although you'd expect this to be all about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), it spends equal time on the involvement of early collaborator Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl). The story follows the growth and influence of the site thru its most significant releases and their consequences. Since it's directed by Bill Condon you can expect exceptional performances all around. Cumberbatch's creation of Assange is compelling and totally believable. Toss in lots of cool locations, interesting cinematography, edgy music and cool graphic treatments. The pace never lags and actually manages to build some tension. This films offers an interesting background packaged into a well-made, engaging upload. Expand
  9. Oct 18, 2013
    6
    Had potential to be huge, but falls short. Still worth viewing though.

    The start of the film is fast paced and very difficult to focus. There are metaphors/symbolism used quite a bit through the start of the movie (and through the end) that are not fully understood until about 1/3 or 1/2 through the movie (an office filled with Assanges, which represents how, when Wikileaks was making
    a name for itself, people thought it had hundreds of people working on it, but all of them were Assange himself with different aliases), which left me with a half-baked understanding of the point what was trying to be made. Once the film did finally start getting rolling, again about 1/3 or 1/2 through, it was great, but harkening back to that first part of the movie, it could be been done much better.

    The movie also had great potential to send a message throughout, but the filmmakers chose to remain neutral as a whole, leaving the only person preaching the points to be Assange himself in the movie. So many messages could have been pushed through, but I suppose the need to remain neutral for mass appeal outweighed that. Only at the very end of the movie does a clear message come forth, when the Assange character is addressing you, the viewer, directly.

    So my main qualms with the movie are that it was a train wreck to get the plot set up, and no clear message came with the movie.
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  10. Oct 18, 2013
    1
    terrible movie. not interesting at all. Tries to hype a situation and make a lot of political statements. Not worth the time it takes to watch. Terrible.
  11. Oct 18, 2013
    5
    Without a strong overall opinion for or against WikiLeaks or Assange, and without much knowledge of the situation, I went into this film open to it as a piece of filmmaking and not as a fact-checker. As a film, it's quite mediocre. The worst part, in fact the single part I could point to in suggesting that you all stay away in droves is this: The film visually depicts some sort of virtual office space that Assange and Berg inhabit in parts of the movie dealing with some of their online interactions. It's something so hokey in 2013 that I'm more or less in disbelief that the director tried it. Expand
  12. Oct 18, 2013
    6
    Most problem in this film is not unusual. "The Fifth Estate" is a typical biopic movie. I think that Benedict Cumberbatch is good playing Julian Assange but "The Fifht State" has a regular screenplay and Bill Condon, lately, is not good director. Daniel Brühl saves this film. I hope that Brühl will be successful in Hollywood.
  13. Oct 18, 2013
    2
    As Benedict Cumberbatch playing Julian Assange states during the course of this tedious Wiki leaks drama 'It's amazing that someone can speak for 10 minutes and say absolutely nothing'. This moment of insight sums up my reaction to this pompous and self congratulatory film, only instead of 10 minutes substitute about 90!
    The film starts slowly and never engagingly hooks the interest and
    the unfolding is confused and confusing for anyone not familiar with the case. The dialogue alternates between the banal and the pretentious and there is really just too much going on. I don't know how accurate the performances are but they provide little in way of compensation.

    When we get to the film's raison d'etre, the publication of thousands of government cables, interest is raised slightly, but by this point (around the 90 minute mark?) news of the missed opportunity that the film undoubtedly is has already been leaked.
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Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    Oct 23, 2013
    50
    Ultimately, the story becomes one of personalities, which seems inevitable but narrows the accomplishments and ambitions of its focus.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 20, 2013
    63
    Perhaps the most curious and counterproductive aspect of The Fifth Estate, the so-called "Wikileaks movie," is the decision by director Bill Condon and screenwriter Josh Singer to establish the film as a thriller.
  3. 40
    The lesson of this is that there’s no easy way to dramatize the story of Julian Assange and that trying to turn it into a conventional melodrama is not just politically irresponsible but dull-witted.