THE FIFTH ESTATE is a flawed but fascinating glimpse into the life of Julian Assange, the infamous hacker (WikiLeaks) who has exposed so much government wrong doing and corporate corruption.
The film presents a man whose ego gets in the way of his good intentions.
The fifth estate begins with Assange's biggest triumph and then flashes back to show how he got there.
His philosophy boils down to an idea he expresses in speeches: "Man is least himself when he talks as his own person, but if you give him a mask he will tell you the truth."
Benedict Cumberbatch of TV's "Sherlock" is spot on as Assange, the man who started WikiLeaks to give anonymous whistle blowers the chance to expose corruption without fear of reprisal.
His partner is Daniel Berg, a German hacker played by Daniel Bruhl.
News Anchor: This bank is hiding millions of dollars in off shore accounts….The former head of Iceland's biggest bank has been accused of fraud.
Daniel: "We just took down a billion dollar bank. This is crazy."
Their Success emboldens Assange to take on big government including the United States.
News anchor: "A video leaked today depicting what appears to be a U.S. military helicopter firing on unarmed reporters."
Laura Linney (as a U.S. official speaking to her colleague): 12 million people have seen that video. you still wanna tell me you think it's just a little website.
Stanley Tucci (her colleague): He's a huge media empire that's accountable to no one.
In partnership with the New York Times and the Guardian of the U. K., Julian wants to publish 90 thousand American military records including the names of people who could become targets.
His partner wants to black out all the names.
Julian: You wanna throw it all away because you're afraid some U.S. government informant might come to harm?
Daniel: These are human beings, Julian, and their lives are at stake.
Julian: What about the lives of the soldiers and civilians involved in these conflicts?
Of course, Julian wins the argument and the deed is done. American officials are outraged.
What I like about THE FIFTH ESTATE is that it tries to show both sides of a complicated issue. It's a sophisticated, journalistic thriller but it moved too fast for me at times and probably tries to do a little too much.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org