The Fifth Estate movie review: 3/5 leaves

Calling all Sherlock fans, prepare to be let down by The Fifth Estate. Starring our beloved Benedict Cumberbatch, the main catch to the film, the movie also featured computer hackers, political corruption, current affairs, and David Thewlis, also known as the actor who plays Remus Lupin. In short, it is a geek movie. Or, an adult movie, whichever you prefer.

Based on true events, The Fifth Estate tells the would-be compelling story of the birth of the controversial, “truth-seeking” website, WikiLeaks. The story is told through the eyes of Daniel Berg, who is employed by the founder of the website, Julian Assange (Cumberbatch). WikiLeaks is based on Assange’s invention of an anonymous chatroom, where informants with insider information can release secrets concerning government corruption, injustice, and scams hidden from the public. Together, the bromance/duo plunges into the website’s unveiling of countless conspiracies all over the globe. But as the stakes get higher for these anonymous insiders, Berg begins to question the increasingly self-obsessed, paranoid Assange as the movies muddles through the issues of government transparency, privacy, security, and truth.

Sounds exciting, right? Yet the movie should be accompanied by the warning “May inspire headaches,” or “Misleading trailers.”

The movie attempted to portray an extremely puzzling concept: The Internet. With an added metaphor that the Internet and WikiLeaks itself was essentially an office in the sky, the movie came off as cliche and a bit ridiculous. And with so many twisting plots, unfocused and undeveloped characters, the movie seemed to lose sight of it’s message of truth as it was bogged down by blown-out-of-proportion conflicts between characters.

The movie is informative, and salvaged, of course, by Cumberbatch, who brilliantly portrays Assange as a silver-haired, puzzling, heroic yet corrupt reflection of his real-life counterpart. As the real-life Julian Assange denounces the entire movie and the books the movies are based off themselves, the entire movie is left up to one person: You. In your ability to watch the movie and either choose to hate what you watched, be content with it, or research further, you are taking on the great civic journalism the movie is founded on.