The Fifth Estate

2013128 minutes
Drama
430

Triggering our age of high-stakes secrecy, explosive news leaks and the trafficking of classified information, WikiLeaks forever changed the game. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, "The Fifth Estate" reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization. The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world's most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?
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Rotten Tomatoes® score
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Audio language
English [5.1]
Subtitles
English [CC]
Rental Period
Start within 30 days, finish within 72 hours.
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Eligible for Family Library
Eligible if purchased with select payment methods. Rentals are not eligible. Learn more
Run time
128 minutes
Rating
R
The bleak, mountainous terrain and quiet, lonely roads set the tone for this compelling venture into the heart of 'the Stans'. The first stop is Asia Plus, a newspaper in Tajikistan. "If we were to talk too freely about our taboos, what kind of taboo would that be?" asks the Editor-in-Chief, Marat Mamadshoev, with a smile. "We'd rather get approval from our superior first..." he says nervously. "The Washington DC overlord of Asia Plus!" Given the go-ahead, the team pours over the material. Speaking over Skype, Assange warns, "Read all of it. If you go searching for particular things you will bring your own prejudice to the material." But as the Wikileaks team move on to their next meeting, soon the call comes, "the problem is that there are many things in the cables that we cannot publish...because we will get into trouble".
At the offices of the Kazakh Telegraph Agency the team receive a more frosty reception. "Why have you come here? If an unskilled man gets access to this data it will lead to anarchy!" Editor-in-Chief of the magazine 'Expert Kazakhstan' says with a shrug, "You are wasting your life in vain. Nothing will come out of it."
After an arduous trek, back in their UK base the team take stock. "These boundaries of free speech, they look different in different countries, but they always exist in one way or another." In London and Washington the Editors-in-Chief of The Guardian and the New York Times speak frankly about the issues of "protecting individuals" and "self-censorship" and making tough decisions about whether or not to publish leaked government data. Sitting in front of a wall of framed pictures of US Presidents and politicians, Bill Keller discusses how, "a lot of presidents and foreign ministers...troop through here...to air their views". A potent road map of the fragile connections between the press, the public and the silent powers that control them.
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