Alex Gibney's documentary "We steal secrets: The Story of Wikileaks" was a searing look at Julian Assange and his organisation, his ideals, his goals and his grey character. It had layers you could peel away and savor. The Fifth Estate -- a feature film on Wikileaks -- has none of those things that made Gibney's docu great but has even more things going against it.
Starring presently everyone's favourite actor Benedict Cumberbatch in a jarring wig as Assange, The Fifth Estate screams that it was directed by that guy who made two Twilight movies. Apart from Cumberbatch's screen presence, the only thing that the film gets right is the detailing. But for a thriller the film is painfully melodramatic and overbearing. It is also an insidious piece of propaganda because it downright demonizes Assange rather taking a balanced look at his intriguing character.
This film is spiteful not just because all of the 'thrills' in this 'thriller' are presented for twelve-year-olds who have never heard of Wikileaks' shocking leaks. It's because a filmmaker had the audacity to reduce such a complex character as Assange to a lame Bond villain and a Hollywood movie dared to simplify a real life hero like Bradley Manning to a mugging embarrassment.
The real life Assange has claimed that the film has deliberately been made from the worst reviewed book on Wikileaks to deliberately blacken the organization. This may or may not be true but it certainly did not help in any way seeing as the film bombed in the United States and has no prospects of making money elsewhere either.
No wonder Assange even wrote a letter to Cumberbatch rubbishing the movie. As a viewer, if you're looking for a more accurate review of the film you'll need to Google his letter.