Geeks and conspiracy theorists rejoiced when they heard that Benedict Cumberbatch was going to play Julian Assange in the Wikileaks movie, The Fifth Estate. Unfortunately, the end result left much to be desired.
There was a stretch in the mid-1990s when Hollywood suddenly wised up to the fact that the internet was here to stay, and jumped on its emergence as the hook for a series of clunky, awkward “cyber-thrillers.” It was an era that gave us the likes of The Net, Johnny Mnemonic, and Hackers, movies that — ironic nostalgia aside — are best left forgotten.
Fast-forward to 2013, and movie studios have taken notice of a different technological revolution, one that has allowed whistleblowers to expose hidden truths and horrific misdeeds through the spread of classified documents. By tackling the story of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, The Fifth Estate aims to be a timely depiction of how traditional definitions of media and journalism are changing on a nearly minute-by-minute basis. But despite an impressive turn by star Benedict Cumberbatch it fails to deliver on that promise.