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Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power thatTriggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st centuryâ Expand
  • Director: Bill Condon and R.J. Cutler
  • Genre(s): Biography, Drama, Thriller, Documentary
  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 128 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Oct 16, 2013
    83
    The Fifth Estate is flawed (it grips the brain but not the heart), yet it feverishly exposes the tenor of whistle-blowing in the brave new world, with the Internet as a billboard for anyone out to spill secrets. Call it the anti-social network.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Oct 18, 2013
    65
    As The Fifth Estate excitedly illustrates, in the Internet age no one can ever really have the last word.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 17, 2013
    60
    Instead of delving into the moral questions WikiLeaks asks by its very existence, Condon gives those a passing nod in a couple of weak subplots.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Sep 15, 2013
    50
    An uneven, intermittently thoughtful but largely preachy overview of WikiLeaks' rising influence that has less of an issue determining Assange's character than it does with telling a compelling story.
  5. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 17, 2013
    50
    As a piece of filmed entertainment, The Fifth Estate shows why things like authorial point of view and visual sensibility are so essential in bringing such stories to life. Unlike its most obvious predecessor, “The Social Network,” this film doesn’t have much of either, and the weakness shows.
  6. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Oct 17, 2013
    50
    Assange is a compelling figure that merited a better effort.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 17, 2013
    25
    Hire “Dreamgirls” director Bill Condon to tell the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? Sure, and next let’s hear from Lady Gaga on the Higgs boson particle.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. 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 theVery 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.. 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 storyLeaving 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.
    Expand
  3. 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 ofAlthough 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. Collapse
  4. 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 openWithout 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
  5. 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 playingThe 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
  6. 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 goesIt'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
  7. 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.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. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews

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