Blu-ray Review “The Fifth Estate”

fifthestateActors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl
Directors: Bill Condon
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Run Time: 128 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I read the initial reviews and buzz about “The Fifth Estate”, I couldn’t be less interested in it. But this the year of Benedict Cumberbatch with “Sherlock”, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and even “August: Osage County”, so I decided to give it a chance. I know a little bit of background on Assange and WikiLeaks but not a lot. I thought that the film was ok and overall entertaining but I wouldn’t see myself watching it ever again. “The Fifth Estate” though has some great performances from both Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Brüh, so it is worth watch just for that. What I can say that the film did do is create an appetite for knowledge. After watching, I did quite a bit of research including watching the very well done documentary “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks”, which I recommend (and can be viewed here).

Official Premise: Through the eyes of Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), the film follows the heady, early days of Wikileaks to its abrupt end after a series of controversial and history changing info leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects, but as their power expanded across the globe, Daniel grew increasingly disillusioned with Julian’s questionable tactics and ethics. The rift between the two friends became irreparable and their ideological differences tore them apart, but not before they revolutionized, for better and worse, the flow of information to news media and the world at large.

Walt Disney Home Entertainment delivered this film as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD and HD Digital Ultraviolet copy included. The 1080p transfer and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works for what it is worth in the film. There is nothing too epic going on here but the score, thanks to Carter Burwell, does benefit from the thrilling aspects of the film. In terms of special features, we  include three decent featurettes. The first is “The Submission Platform – Visual Effects” which looks into the film from conception and pre-viz through post. “In Camera: Graphics” looks focuses on capturing the on screen graphics in camera and on the real interactions from the actors. “Scoring Secrets” is a look into composer Carter Burwell’s score. Lastly there are Theatrical Trailers & TV Spots included.

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