The Fifth Estate Blu-Ray Review

Listen To The After The Show Podcast Here

The Movie: 6.5/10
I liked the movie as I watched it. It’s not amazing but it’s well made. The more I think about it though, the more I keep chipping away at it. The quality is good with an excellent cast and it tells a very broad story with so many details that it’s impressive in that respect. What I liked about it specifically, beside the cast, is it’s neutrality, and that’s what I like least about it now that I think about it. So confusing.

If I liked it when I watched this story of the man, or men who brought Wiki-leaks out into the world conscientiousness, why wouldn’t I like it as much later? Well, part of the problem is that once I watched it, it became glaringly obvious that the “truth” behind the “Based on a true story” was shaky at best. I mean, the style of the movie is just too cool, pretentious, Hollywoody. The benefit of the movie not committing to one thing or another is that it lays out a more reasonable way to get through the story. The downside of it is that question, “was the founder of Wikileaks a complete asshole, or was he a saint?” and the fact that we don’t get any closer to a resolution or even being able to truly form an opinion from what we are given. You can say you hated him, or loved him, but I’m not convinced that the people who made this movie made it well enough to actually inform you.

As for the overall film, the music was forgettable, while the performance of Cumberbatch stays in my mind and that smile, oh that smile!! He’s obviously the leading element of this whole thing and that’s almost enough for me to tip the scale in favor of The Fifth Estate. I like the leading man too, just not as much. They tell an interesting story about the slice of time when Wiki-leaks became headline news which is a very topical thing. The problem is that the “man behind the curtain reveal” concept doesn’t work when you have so much politics, so many details, so much peripheral information to cram into your movie that the whole idea of letting the world know it was one dude who started it all, alone, no big conspiracy or big conglomerate. That would have been a better focus, rather than that just being part of the frame around the relationship of the two hacker types who pulled it off in the end.

Overall I did enjoy the movie for what it is, a FICTIONAL VERY FICTIONAL telling of some of the retold details of what is a true life story. It tries to be too slick, but without the powerful score to back it up, or the well paced and edited final cut it could have been with such a dynamic weaving and bobbing story. Do not watch it and think you just watched a true to life telling of anything at all. Just watch it and imagine that you might want to do some digging about the truth on your own.

Features: 4/10

  • The Submission Platform – A look at how the computer system used in the movie was created. It’s pretty interesting how this was brought to life using a mixture of practical and digital effects.
  • In Camera Graphics – Similar to what you see in the BBC series Sherlock (Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch) the movie uses a variety of techniques to convey how hackers talk to each other virtually. One of my favorites is the real time projection of irc chat into the real world.
  • Scoring Secrets – A look at the score of the movie which is weird because it’s pretty much forgettable. So disappointing there is no real life Wikileaks information on the disc.
  • Trailers & TV Spots
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
This cover is not interesting, nor does it reflect the stylized movie behind it. I wouldn’t have it as a poster. The menu is just navigation, nothing special.

Audio & Video: 9/10
Disney/Touchstone have a fantastic 1080P AVC encode here which certainly wasn’t hacked together. Superb shadow detail, vivid colors and no signs of edge enhancement or DNR. Tobias Schliessler’s cinematography is a little less interesting than it could have been but it is faithfully recreated here with no issues to note.

Disney use the DTS-HD Master Audio codec as they do in most of their recent releases and as usual it sounds incredible. This is not the type of movie that will blow you away in terms of sound engineering, but what it does do is envelope you in the dark and shadowy world of these hackers. Dialog is clear and centered even Cumberbatch’s Australian accent is easy to understand.  If you are a fan of dark broody espionage style movies this presentation on Blu-Ray is hard to beat.

Overall Score 6.5/10