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21 October 2013 @ 12:42 am
Film Review: The Fifth Estate  
I had certain reservations about watching this but my general curiosity over Assange's well publicized dislike for the film's tone got me into the theaters.

To be honest, if I were Assange, I'd be more upset that my story was made into something so unbearable dull as The Fifth Estate rather than it being slanderous. The biggest problem I had was that the filmmakers seemed to assume that anyone who would watch this movie would have no idea what Wikileaks was or who Assange is. Hence, we got so much exposition dialogue, I felt like I was drowning in it. It was like a two hour version of that story your friend tells you every time, thinking they haven't told you yet. Plus, nothing of the exposition dialogue tells us anything that we didn't already know from just having access to the news around the time Wikileaks happened.

My other issue was the general lack of direction for both story and characterization. Regarding the latter, I tried to give the movie some slack that it becomes an extra thorny issue when you're making a movie based on real events and a real person. Many people have various opinions about Assange and I felt like the movie was almost trying to capture all those varying opinions and give us a person who could inspire such varied, contrasting reactions from people. But in the end, Assange came across as either too two dimensional or inexplicable rather than complicated and unpredictable. I won't even get into how the supporting characters fared because they got even less development, especially the female characters. If I were one of the real life women portrayed in this film, I'd sue. Assange might be writing letters to Cumberbatch but he's got so much less to complain about then some of the real women who got majorly short shrifted.

A lot has been said about Cumberbatch's masterful abilities at mimicry and his spot on accent for Assange. I'm of the opinion that it takes more than spot on impersonations when it comes to portraying people in biopics but Cumberbatch wasn't exactly bad. However the sad truth is he's not a good enough actor to rise above the material that was given to him. The script gave one too many overly dramatic dialogue moments to Cumberbatch who, I think, didn't have it in his performance to contain how hackneyed it all sounded. At one point the friend I was seeing the movie with turned to me and whispered this was like watching Bleached Sherlock and she isn't even someone who's seen the entire Sherlock series. For anyone who actually decides to see the movie, you'll know exactly which moment in the movie led to my friend making this observation because it was PAINFUL.

If you're an absolute diehard worshipper of Lord Benedict of Cumberbatch, go ahead and give this a try. For anyone who's seeing this for the hopes of an actual biopic thriller, I'd avoid it.
Shezan: Agrippashezan on October 21st, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
I am an admirer of His Highness The Grand Poo-Bah of Cumberbatch; but I've seen him act badly, and it was always when the text simply wasn't good enough. The was this slight, bad play by Michael Dobbs on Guy Burgess's meeting with Churchill in 1938, which was was expository and underwritten - possibly there was little else to do, but I don't think "fresh young thing" is what you want to convey when you're trying to portray a man who got expelled of half the jobs he held for drunkenness, lewd behaviour and general limit-testing. I'm sure there could have been ways of suggesting more seediness (or the seeds thereof). I also thought the way Sherlock chewed the scenery in Baskerville, especially in the pub when trying to convey hs mind was going, was....embarrassing, in fact. So I believe you!!!

tommycruisestommy50702 on April 29th, 2015 06:14 am (UTC)
The movie was ok, but it didn't meet my expectation I got from watching this trailer.