Bill Condon’s new movie thriller, The Fifth Estate, has been reviewed as a study of technology and ethics. The thriller about the rise of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange initially moves rather slowly, explaining the internet to its audience. But thirty minutes into the movie, the ethical questions surface with the NYTimes’ Bill Keller, the Guardian in London and Der Spiegel in Germany partnering to parse, redact and publish the classified documents. Government ministers, of course, are portrayed in their attempts to contain the flow of documents. Inevitably, much of the film and its reviewers focus upon whistle blowing, first amendment rights and the realities of collateral damage.
Yet, The Fifth Estate provides a shockingly graphic picture of leadership horrors and the gullibility of followers. Steve Coll of the The New Yorker, writes about the glamorization of Assange, but you can be certain that there is no glamorization in this film.