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The Fifth Estate (2013)

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A dramatic thriller based on real events that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization.

Director:

Bill Condon

Writers:

Daniel Domscheit-Berg (book), David Leigh (book) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Capaldi ... Alan Rusbridger
David Thewlis ... Nick Davies
Anatole Taubman ... Holger Stark
Alexander Beyer ... Marcel Rosenbach
Philip Bretherton ... Bill Keller
Dan Stevens ... Ian Katz
Daniel Brühl ... Daniel Berg
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Julian Assange
Jamie Blackley ... Ziggy
Ludger Pistor ... Supervisor
Alicia Vikander ... Anke Domscheit
Michael Kranz ... Otto
Christin Nichols Christin Nichols ... Otto's Girlfriend
Christoph Franken Christoph Franken ... Game Console Hacker
Ben Rook Ben Rook ... Young Julian
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Storyline

The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world's most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them? Written by DreamWorks Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How Wiki Leaks uncovers the secrets of the World See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | India | Belgium

Language:

English | Icelandic | Swahili | Arabic

Release Date:

18 October 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Sold the World See more »

Filming Locations:

Hoeilaart, Belgium See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,673,351, 20 October 2013

Gross USA:

$3,255,008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,555,008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actors who starred in three iconic British TV shows of the early 2010s appear in this movie, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock (2010)), Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who (2005)) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey (2010)), as well as an actress from an equally iconic HBO series, Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones (2011)). See more »

Goofs

After Julian fixes the broken power cord, his laptop turns on with a Windows sound, but the computer has a clearly visible Macbook logo. See more »

Quotes

Julian Assange: [Typing] There must be faith in leadership in times of crisis.
See more »

Connections

Features Caillou (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Catch Me
Written by Emika
Performed by Emika
Courtesy of Ninja Tune
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"The Fifth Estate" is an important, if not exciting film.
16 December 2015 | by dave-mcclainSee all my reviews

In Medieval Europe, the First Estate was the clergy, The Second Estate was the nobility and The Third Estate were the commoners – basically, what we would call today "the 99%". The term The Fourth Estate emerged later as a designation for a group of people who aren't large in numbers, but are great in influence – usually the news media. This leads us to the title of the 2013 film "The Fifth Estate" (R, 2:08). What if there were another group of people, further outside the older classes of society – a group that was an offshoot of The Fourth Estate, smaller in size, but greater in influence? In this, The Information Age, the internet has created such a group, a group that plays a role similar to The Fourth Estate, but does it completely independently and with no accountability. It's a group that is influential enough, and different enough from the established media, that a new name seems appropriate to describe this group. This is The Fifth Estate, and there is no better example of The Fifth Estate than the WikiLeaks website, publisher of documents leaked to the site by people within corporations, military and government organizations who feel that they have a responsibility to expose corruption, questionable practices, lies and policies and practices with which the leaker simply disagrees. Calling a movie about WikiLeaks "The Fifth Estate" begs the question: Can people who work with such an organization really be called journalists, are they lawbreakers, or are they something new and different, something that defies definition? It's an important question and it's what this film asks its audience.

WikiLeaks went online in 2007 and was the creation of one man, Australian computer hacker – turned activist and publisher Julian Assange. Benedict Cumberbatch does a remarkable job portraying the enigma that is Assange. In Cumberbatch's hands, Assange is a brilliant visionary… as well as arrogant, rude, manipulative, paranoid, self-righteous and definitely lacking in the social skills. He makes Apple Computers co-founder Steve Jobs look like a puppy dog. Daniel Bruehl plays Daniel Berg, a computer genius who hitches his wagon to Assange's rising star. Berg believes in Assange's goal of revealing the truth about powerful organizations, especially those corrupt, scandalous, embarrassing, or just uncomfortable truths which Assange, Berg and a small group of friends believe can make a difference if exposed to the light of day. Over time, however, Berg comes to see Assange for the man he really is and grows increasingly upset over what he sees as Assange's recklessness in publishing hundreds of thousands of leaked U.S. military and State Department documents and communications without redacting names and other information that, if made public, could endanger the lives of all kinds of people all over the world. That's where Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci and Anthony Mackey come in, as government officials trying to limit the damage from WikiLeaks releasing the biggest treasure trove of documents the website (or any organization) has received from a single source. That source was former Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, eventually convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other crimes and sentenced to 35 years in prison (and has since assumed the identity Chelsea Manning).

This should be seen as an important movie, regardless of one's opinion of the people and events portrayed. First off, WikiLeaks (along with the connections established among people around the world on social media websites) helped lead to the Arab Spring and other significant political changes in many different countries over the few years following Manning's actions. Secondly, whether you agree or disagree with Assange's approach to journalism (or whether you even consider him a journalist at all), this movie raises important questions that existed before the world even heard of Julian Assange, will exist into the foreseeable future, and may never go away. When does the freedom of the press enshrined in the U.S. Constitution conflict with the basic human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence? Is there any way to hold people who post news on the internet accountable without violating our most treasured freedoms? Where is the line between whistle-blower and traitor – and who decides where to draw that line? This film suggests the importance of asking all these questions and more without coming right out and asking them. This film also avoids suggesting that there are any easy answers. As entertainment, many will find "The Fifth Estate" a bit dry, a bit long or both. The director does his best to keep the film engaging by getting the best out of his talented cast, editing and scoring the film to create tension and using creative settings and camera work to represent certain concepts and events in the story. However, the real strength of this film is in its educational value and its ability to get the audience to think about some significant issues that face our country and our world - right now, today - and aren't going away any time soon. At the end of the day, isn't that one of the things that we want (and really need) movies to do – at least some of the time? That is a question that I think this film does answer and that answer is a resounding "yes"! For the significance of this film, its execution and its overall entertainment value, I give "The Fifth Estate" a "B".


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