Compelling real-life thriller The Fifth Estate tells the story of Australian internet activist Julian Assange and his notorious whistleblower site WikiLeaks, focusing on the years leading up to the site’s massive leak of secret US government documents in 2010. Given the complexity of the events it covers, it’s no wonder that the script sometimes creaks under the strain of putting the story on screen, but the film benefits enormously from a brilliant performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, who nails Assange’s complex mix of genius, arrogance, paranoia and autism-spectrum social dysfunction, and pulls off a flawless Australian accent into the bargain. There’s good support, too, from Daniel Brühl (Niki Lauda in Rush) as Assange’s disillusioned right-hand man, German computer activist Daniel Domscheit-Berg, on whose book the film is partly based.
Certificate 15. Runtime 123 mins. Director Bill Condon.
Released on Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 17th February by Entertainment One.