If you like movies, The Fifth Estate is for you.

The latest in a string of WikiLeaks-related films opens on October 18, and it has all the makings of classic, sugar-candy Hollywood: there’s the top-line lead (Benedict Cumberbatch, who has played Khan, Sherlock, and now Assange), some dramatic liberties with history in the name of drama (Russian spies pre-Manning, a dramatic border crossing that would make Argo proud), plus a healthy dose of visual effects that you’ll either find cool or laughable (no spoilers, but I was surprised that no one associated with The Matrix or Hackers appeared in the credits). However, if you’re passionate about WikiLeaks and the nuanced heated debates that surround it—over Julian Assange, media censorship, government secrecy, etc.—The Fifth Estate will serve you just as well as any online message board.

The facts are kinda there, each side sorta represented, but no definitive statements are being made that could change a viewer’s mind. Part of this intentional ambivalence is likely due to The Fifth Estate’s source material. It’s a script largely based on Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World’s Most Dangerous Website, a book from former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Clearly, the man has complicated feelings on everything that played out.

And so Domscheit-Berg is our true protagonist and moral center of the film, the individual we’re supposed to relate to and sympathize with.

He believes in the idealist WikiLeaks mission but doesn’t recognize the destructive narcissism of its means until it’s too late.     

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