Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Fifth Estate


You go, boy.

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who lived happily on an abandoned pineapple farm with his mother in Australia. The boy owned a basic Commodore computer for which he developed a passion.

One day, he sat down in front of the computer and pressed one singular key.

But little did the boy know this simple action would change his life. Topple governments. And change the face of the entire world…

Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

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The movie opens with a spectacular collage of previous worldwide news broadcasts and newspaper articles. Once we’re through the titles, we meet a man named Julian Assange; founder of a website named WikiLeaks. A website which didn’t just burn an imprint on the world – but bloody burnt through it like a red-hot poker. Its pretty simple: WikiLeaks was created as a platform to publish secret information, classified documents and news leaks – all uploaded by anonymous sources (vengeful members of the public all over the world sat at their computers, basically)

Think of it if you will, as a “fuck you” salute to government officials.  And this movie explains perfectly the cover-blowing results Julian’s creation extracted from government ‘Fat Cats’ and the life-shattering results it had on all those involved.

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There could be no better actor to portray Julian Assange than Benedict Cumberbatch. His icy stare and white hair were just two elements which gave the character the kick he needed. Effortlessly, he carried the entire movie – not to slate his dynamics, but he did so in an extremely relaxed fashion; his character was sly and quick-witted, yet incredibly composed at the same time. That said, he nailed Julian’s style and accent spot-on.

The rest of the cast – although completely overshadowed by Cumberbatch – supported him brilliantly. Anatole Taubman delivered brilliantly as sub-genius partner in crime Holger Stark.


I won’t go into the whole WikiThingy because most of us are aware of its premise already. But I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. There’s nothing like a good thriller to keep you on your toes – and although not uber-thriller, The Fifth Estate was slick, sharp and opened my eyes up to the world of government cover-up’s.  Before I went to see this movie, I thought I was in for a boring ride of politics, government, and other dull shit. What I got was an intriguing tale of one man’s mission to expose truth to the world – a sort of political vigilante. (think Kick-Ass, but remove all weapons and stick laptops in their hands) – for once! A film about politics which kept me fully engaged!

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Blushing White House Turns Red

There’s nothing better than seeing big-wigs exposed for who they really are, I’m with Julian on that. I mean with the salaries government officials are on, they deserve to swallow their pride time to time – do the crime, do the time. Laura Linney stars as Sarah Shaw, a White House minion whose soft facial expressions turn panic-stricken when the shit hits the fan – she delivers some nice ‘LOL’ moments (one of which being signing off an incredibly jeopardising batch of documents, where she turns to her male colleague and announces “I signed Hilary’s name at the bottom”)

Call me sadistic, but I kinda revelled in watching those ‘important’ people being brought down a peg or two. In a true ‘Wiki-supporter way’ I sat back and thought “yeah.. take THAT, fuckers”.  The movie got me thinking – what exactly do the US government (and all other governments come to that) sugar-coat and cover up nicely? Are we being kept in the dark all the time?..

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The Fifth Estate may not be ‘swashbuckling’ as such; no sneaking down corridors, hanging out of skyscraper skylights or car chases through the streets here. But it still kept me captivated throughout (I’m thinking it was the whole ‘revelation’ thing that kept me glued). Let’s face it, anything to do with people who are supposed to be our leaders slipping up, stirs a “ooh – what’s gone on ‘ere then?” reaction from nearly the entire world.  What Julian Assange did was expose the truth – as painful as it is, its amazing how telling the world what actually happened can bring down even the most concrete institutions. Perhaps honesty is the worst policy? Should we simply bullshit in order to keep people happy?

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Estate Guy

I chuckle silently when I liken The Fifth Estate to Family Guy. You know that brutal honesty Seth MacFarlane displays through adorable characters.. Stewie Griffin swaggering around in his nappy whilst announcing some sort of political insult (but truth) about the US government, or when Brian slips in wisecracks about 9/11 – but “its OK, because these characters are so funny” kind of thing. The only difference is, Julian leaked information and made comments against the US government without sugar-coating it with cute nappy-wearing characters. He just let it out of the bag, plain & simple. Praise for that.

Filming Locations

The countries used in this movie are spread far and wide – literally. One minute we’re at the White House in Washington D.C. – the next, we’re surrounded by the beautiful Blue Lagoon of Iceland. Berlin, Russia and London also feature which is nice – the different backdrops add an exciting variation to the feature. My only query was “how the hell do two men who run a non-profit website have enough money to travel the bloody world?!”..

At some points, this movie reminded me of The Social Network (that film about Facebook) – almost an autobiography of the founder’s life, the journey of his website, the shocking side-effects, and rivalry between colleagues.

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Overall, a good watch. If you’re heavily into politics – definitely give this a go. And if you’re not into politics – give it a go anyway. I did – and bloody enjoyed it.


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This entry was posted on October 12, 2013 by .
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