'The Fifth Estate' has received mixed reviews since its release in the US yesterday (10 October). The film may be lacking in certain aspects but no one can doubt the talent of Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Fifth Estate has received mixed reviews in time with its release in US cinemas. The film follows the rise of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to prominence. Although many have described the film as lacking in detail and merely showing the bare bones of the plot, this is summed up by Henry Fitzherbert of the Daily Express who wrote: "if you want to know more about Wikileaks and today's information war the picture is an excellent starting point. As engaging human drama, however, it falls short."
The official The Fifth Estate poster.
Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been highly praised by critics however. He stars in The Fifth Estate, which follows Assange's decision to publish the WikiLeaks website and his turbulent relationship with Daniel Domescheit-Berg at the height of the WikiLeaks controversy. The film, based on true events, shows politics on a local and global scale: from Assange's office to the centres of US government. Many governments worldwide considered Assange a threat to their national security whilst Assange was forced to wrestle with the consequences of his actions, namely that it would put others in danger.
Cumberbatch's performance and acting ability has been complimented by critics worldwide. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian stated "there's no doubt that Benedict Cumberbatch does a very good job as the impassioned, imperious and mercurial Assange." Whilst Brian Viner of the Daily Mail claimed Cumberbatch does not merely look like Assange, "he inhibits him." Others have proclaimed the film unworthy of his talents including Dave Calhoun's review in Time Out which reads: "The Fifth Estate doesn't have the same sharp focus or insight [as The Social Network]. It's adequate and often fun, but no match for Cumberbatch's talents."
Cumberbatch, according to the BBC, did attempt to contact Assange to discuss his role and how he could better represent the controversial figure. However, Assange described the film as "toxic" and "distorted", he claimed by meeting Cumberbatch he would "validate" the film. He continued by urging Cumberbatch to consider his involvement in the film and claimed it was further a part of the "campaign" against him.
Daniel Bruhl (L) and Benedict Cumberbatch (R) in The Fifth Estate.
Cumberbatch is supported by a strong cast including Stanley Tucci (Gambit); Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina); David Thewlis (Harry Potter); Laura Linney (The Big C); Daniel Bruhl (The Bourne Ultimatum), Carice van Houten (Black Death), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker); Peter Capaldi (The Thick Of It) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey).
The film has already been released in the US (10 October), however UK cinema-goers will have to wait until 1 January 2014 to get a glimpse of it.
Laura Linney (L) and Stanley Tucci (R) feature in The Fifth Estate as US officials.