‘The Fifth Estate’

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THE FIFTH ESTATE

The Fifth Estate” is a slick, Hollywoodized retelling of the WikiLeaks scandal, with Benedict Cumberbatch mesmerizing as a Julian Assange by way of Dr. Evil and Daniel Brühl (”Rush”) as his more reasonable associate, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The script by Josh Singer is built blatantly on the bones of “The Social Network”; director Bill Condon (”Dreamgirls,” the last two “Twilight” movies) tries to dramatize the story’s ideas but instead turns them into simplistic Power Point bullets that just lie there.

Well made and watchable, the movie is itself the response of an entrenched information system toward something it barely comprehends. It makes a media format that has sustained us for a century—the two-hour movie—feel like a 20th century dinosaur.

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