OK for kids 15+
Confusing WikiLeaks docudrama mostly avoids iffy content.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that most kids will have little interest in The Fifth Estate, a docudrama about WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange, and the release of classified government documents. The film deals with complex issues such as whistleblowing, privacy rights, hacking, and media responsibility. Hand-held camerawork, edgy fast-paced editing, and dizzying split-screen shots of computer data further speed up and confuse these already sophisticated concepts. Aside from the topics addressed, the main issues that might concern parents are the occasional but strong language (including multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t") and the scene where two men are shot point blank in their car and the camera lingers on blood. There's also some passionate kissing between a couple and the implication of sex.
- Families can discuss the differences between docudramas and documentaries. How much truth do you think can be compromised in either type of film in order to make a movie entertaining or persuasive?
- The source material is Daniel Berg's book "Inside WikiLeaks..." Why is important to know the origins of the film's point-of-view?
- Find out more about the actual events depicted in this movie. What resources are available to you?
The good stuff
Messages: Attempts to explore and balance the complex issue of transparency (the public's right to know) versus the necessity for government secrecy. Suggests that institutional corruption is common; it must be reported and the perpetrators held responsible for their actions. Questions the morality of hacking to secure crucial information. Contends that "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Role models: Looks at the motivations of both whistleblowers and the mainstream media to show positive outcomes of their efforts as well as the danger of obsession and self-interest. Central character is portrayed as having good intentions initially, but losing sight of right and wrong as his influence grows. The other character (on whose book the movie is based) is shown as the most moral character. Strives for some fairness in its depiction of government officials and media personnel.
What to watch for
Violence: Two men are killed by gunfire at point blank range while sitting in a car and the camera lingers on the bloody windshield. Video footage of soldiers killing civilians in a way that seems callous. Newsreel footage briefly shows rioting, police repression, beatings, effects of starvation. A tense series of scenes where it seems a man, woman, and baby might be in danger.
Sex: An adult couple is shown kissing, beginning to undress, engaging in moderate foreplay in several scenes. They are also seen lying in bed together after sex.
Language: Some swearing and obscenities: numerous instances of "f--k," "s--t," "Goddamn," "hell." Also "a--hole" and "pr--k."
Consumerism: A shot of a McDonald's franchise; World of Warcraft game is mentioned, as is WIRED magazine. Various actual newspapers, banks, organizations are included as part of the story.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults are seen drinking various alcoholic beverages in numerous settings: party, restaurants, at home, while working. A man is driving as he swigs from a bottle which may contain beer.
Fan Reviews provided by
Spins Its Wheels, Doesn't Go Far by MedRed
The Fifth Estate is a very confused movie. It can't figure out if it wants to be a techy, hacker film, a romantic drama, a thriller, or a documentary.
I found the first hour slow and sloppy. It wasn't until the last 30 minutes I felt any connection with the movie at all, and that fleeting feeling was over before the movie ended. I spent most of the +2 hour run time waiting for something to happen.
The acting is very good, but all of the actors feel as if they are hemmed in by the material they have to work with.
The Fifth Estate tries too hard to make the Wikileaks story into a sexy movie. It doesn't work. It's not a bad movie, but not worth going to the movies for.
There's nothing during or after the credits
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Worth Your Time and Money by thesunnyspot
Went for the Cumberbatch, stayed for the thinky plot and characterizations. My teenagers are still talking about it, which pleases me no end. For some unknown reason it's rated R... to get adults to come see it maybe? The violence, language and brief underwear scene are so much less offensive than similar stylized content in the usual PG13 action flick.
Boring and bad cinematography by bobogriz
This movie was dry like a documentary. It was painfully boring. You cant identify with any characters and the story is a rendition of a timeline with poorly presented flashes to differing cities throughout the world. The end gets a bit better. I would not waste money on this one. Wait for it to come out on TV or a movie channel.
Makes you think by rogerafleming
An intelligent movie. Not an obvious topic for a film but it held my attention throughout. This was partly due to the acting which was great. No bang-bangs, but the action was quite tense at times. I left the theater deep in thought. That makes it a 'go' movie for me.
Would've worked better as a mini-series by philquin
It lacked cinematic grandeur, and would have played better on TV. Not surprised it has bombed at the box office -- Julian Assange is a fairly unlikable character in real life, so his movie version, even if played by Cumberbatch, is hardly a magnet for a wide audience.
went to see Cumberbatch by just blush
- - - but I was more impressed by his sidekick Daniel. The movie was long and confusing. While I'm not a programmer, I thought I understood rudimentary computer-speak. But I was lost much of the time. I do plan to follow-up with a little research into Asange and reports of WikiLeaks, to see if I can get any clarity on the story.
Fifth Estate by globalreach
An interesting movie for a select audience. Though titled Fifth Estate, it is not beyond the realms, and realistic in the Information Era. It would seem that Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a man whose idea had come and would not spare any innocents to meet his ideal - not unlike robber barons in the Industrial Era - just a man whose ideals got the better of him at others' expense. This movie is akin to movies such as The Social Network and Argo; an excellent cast. Yet the storyline is more difficult to follow - so make sure you know the story before you see the movie.
The next estate by everyweek60706
Two hours of hackers exposing spies and diplomats. It was hard to deny Wikileaks impact on world history last year, but now the Arab Spring seems to be going nowhere good. The characters in this story of the founding of Wikileaks see great drama in exposing underhanded dealings and covert operations, but it's hard to see how they are any different. The East is a better movie in a similar vein.
USE YOUR TIME WISELY ... by Fabulouscj
Confusing ... could have been much shorter. Had looked forward to its release ... not sure why. Got more out of sitting outside in nature. Actors were good choices but they did not get to shine. Who went to the pre-showings? This was a travesty given the severity of what the situation. It would be like a movie about the recent government shutdown failing to focus on the shutdown. Waste of my time and my money.
Fifth Estate Review by Gary Saucedo
The Fifth Estate is a good movie to see, visually it works well on the big screen which is surprising given the informational abstracts presented in the movie. Having said that there are forays into representational realities that seem a bit unnecessarily overdone. There is a representation of a network which is part volunteer office and internets. The idea is fine initially as it presents concepts yet it is referred to too often and the metaphor is over extended.
The storyline however is informative to those interested in how this story played out. Facts are filled in that are human and interesting in a way that reminded me of the movie "The Social Network." Benedict Cumberbatch is a good match for the role of Julian Assange and does a good job of showing Assange's brilliance and arrogance at the same time.
This movie is Go See due to the fact that it is well presented overall, interesting and timely subject matter, well acted by all the actors presenting believable characters.