Parents' Guide to

The Fifth Estate

By Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Confusing WikiLeaks docudrama mostly avoids iffy content.

Movie R 2013 128 minutes
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Admittedly, clarity is difficult when so much of the story depends upon on-screen computer data, hacking, and issues that cannot be immediately classified as black or white. Unfortunately, the filmmakers, led by director Bill Condon, have opted for a complex storytelling style, including rapid-fire editing, harsh angles, multiple split-screen sequences, visual metaphors, and other techniques that are designed to speed up and intensify audience reaction.

The result? Rather than simplify what is already a complex tale with crucial issues at its core, the film will probably turn off audiences with side stories designed to extrude emotion, but which just add to the haphazard narrative. Also, the movie will have little appeal for kids, even older ones, unless they are well-versed and interested in these true events. Alex Gibney's documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks offers a better and clearer look at Julian Assange and his operation.

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