Oscar Wilde once said, "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
Unfortunately, if a person were given a mask to talk face-to-face with Bill Condon, director of "The Fifth Estate," they would mostly likely tell him it's an extreme disappointment.
The famous Oscar Wilde quote is referenced in the movie by WikiLeaks' main hacker, Julian Assange.
Assange, played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, is the famous controversial hacker who started the website WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks website's purpose is essentially to expose facts on controversial subjects that governments across the world have hidden from the public.
The film, however, tends to focus more on the oddball Assange and his complicated relationship with his co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg, played by actor Daniel Brühl. The majority of the problems in the film tend to fall on the acting.
Cumberbatch's voice, first off, is annoying to hear. Even though his character is an oddball in real life, Cumberbatch destroys every interest in Assange's character by making him annoyingly odd and creepy. Cumberbatch doesn't quite capture the true oddness of Assange.
Brühl, on the other hand, is mediocre. His acting is neither respectable nor terrible but is uninteresting and not fulfilling.
The whole concept of WikiLeaks is quite fascinating and it's a shame the movie is not.
The film deals with the issue of privacy in the world today. Yes, the government hides things that it shouldn't, but the film touches on the subject that some things are necessary to hide, as exposing certain secrets puts people's lives in danger.
Both WikiLeaks founders struggle to find an agreement on whether the information they're hacking into should be released or not. Assange believes all confidential information should be exposed, while Brühl encourages everyone to think twice before disclosing leaks that could jeopardize a person's life.
Another problem with the film is its loose plot structure. The story pops from one place to another without proper elaboration. It would've been more interesting if the film had focused on one specific leak, such as U.S. military corruption amongst civilians brought up in the film, rather than a random series of leaks.
This would have allowed the audience to follow the story much more easily.
There is also not much explanation of the legal action that went on against WikiLeaks that could have been put into the movie. It's amazing, though, how so many elements were left out of the movie, yet the film still seemed to drag along.
Condon goes for a thrilling experience for viewers, but instead, the audience gets the lousy actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who looks more like Professor Snape from Harry Potter than Julian Assange.
"The Fifth Estate" is a movie that may be better to rent at Redbox for $1 rather than to pay the full price to see it in theaters. It was a smart idea for Condon to take on the film idea for hackers exposing government's secrets to the public, it's just unfortunate that the screenwriting and acting was so sub-par.