I watched this on the plane yesterday, and I’m very glad I didn’t watch it on a bigger screen. I’m also very glad that I didn’t spend any money to see it.
I was very tempted to make this a two-word review: “Don’t bother.” Julian Assange himself said the film would fail – he was right, though not for the reasons that he suggested. The writing is just terrible and the acting isn’t much better. Even Sherlock himself Benedict Cumberbatch does a poor job – but with the material he’s given I can’t see any way he could have turned in a good performance. The rest of the cast is a mix between over dramatic and mellow, and it doesn’t mesh well, and there’s no real gravitas in the movie. The closest we get is to being worried about anyone is when an undercover CIA operative might.not.get.to.safety! – but since we know it’s fiction and the movie has been plodding along as if written by a grade-schooler there’s absolutely no way the producer/director/writer/whoever would have made a gutsy move and have anything but the nicest of happy things happen to anyone. The “threat” of the various governments is never really a threat, and they even managed to make “spooks” not spooky.
While I was watching the movie, I was comparing it to “The Social Network” in my head – a vastly better movie with a similar concept. The Fifth Estate is the exact opposite of The Social Network when it comes to the story/writing, and suffers significantly for it. Don’t waste your time.