The Fifth Estate

First slide

Fact-based drama examining the history of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks - and the personality of its founder, Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) - through the eyes of one of his closest collaborators (Daniel Bruhl), a German tech whiz. Cumberbatch turns in a masterful performance that captures both the charismatic and hostile aspects of his subject's enigmatic persona. Yet, overall, director Bill Condon's film only engrosses attention fitfully. Weighty issues regarding free speech, personal privacy and public safety are raised and debated in screenwriter Josh Singer's adaptation of a duo of books by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Bruhl's real-life counterpart, and WikiLeaks chroniclers David Leigh and Luke Harding. But the proceedings are weighed down by an exaggerated sense of their own historical importance.

Watch out for: Brief but intense violence with gore, cohabitation, semi-graphic premarital sexual activity, several uses of profanity, about a half-dozen rough terms, and some crude language.

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013