Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Fifth Estate Occasionally More Like It Drank a 5th.

 The Fifth Estate is well acted and Benedict Cumberbatch is very convincing as  Julian Assange, and I have a growing respect for the acting skills of Daniel Brühl as Wikileaks' "first volunteer/co-founder" Daniel Berg especially since his roll in Rush as the German racecar driver, Niki Lauda.  That said, sadly the movie seems to be in search of good storytelling and the search for some sort of look.

It holds your attention, but I spent time wondering exactly what was going on.  The movie starts out in flashback, but then drops that to become a story of Julian Assange meeting Daniel Berg and then showing Assange flashbacks.  We are also not ever really sure which of the flashbacks are true and which ones are a product of Assange's need to manipulate and keep his own secrets.  There is also the sequences of the imaginary Wikileaks office that is in symbolic cyberspace.  Then at the end, we are reminded that this is a flashback although we now arrive at a different point than where we began, but that too is interrupted by a brief imaginary interview with Assange who is now living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.  Add to this terminology that relies on computer knowledge that most of us don't have, a road trip to add server points, at least I think that was what they were doing, and the rapidly changing character of Assange, and a loosely related storyline about people in Washington's diplomatic corps and one of their informants, and the movie just tends to roam from cogent sense in a number of spots.

I have mixed feelings about the real Julian Assange, and the movie doesn't really offer any change or understanding into him.  His cause was noble, but his unredacted release of all the documents stolen from the US by an unstable army private was clearly wrong.  He is also clearly at the least egotistical  and at the most a megalomaniac. There is also no resolution or any real discussion of the rape charges against Assange from Sweeden in the movie except for a brief  movie card at the very end of the movie.  Still, it is more than just a little ironic that Assange is upset about the movie based on the book by Daniel Berg.

The movie is worth the watch, but save your money and watch it when it comes out on the premium channels.