Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Fifth Estate

Year 7, Day 230 - 8/18/15 - Movie #2,124

BEFORE: Coming out of the documentary chain, back into narrative films, and this Assange guy got name-checked during "Citizenfour", so I feel justified that I'm staying on theme with this one.  Again, I'm falling back on the fact that I've been kind of busy over the last couple of years, so it's a good time to catch up on this whole Wikileaks news story.  What was the deal with that, again?

Barack Obama made an appearance in "Citizenfour", and he's on the IMDB list for this one, too - so linking is back on, and archive footage of real people counts. 

THE PLOT: A dramatic thriller that 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.

AFTER: We've definitely entered a new era, one where the existence of the internet has killed movies, more or less, and I'm not even talking about piracy.  I'm talking about a time where it's acceptable for the "action" in a film to take place mostly in cyberspace.  But it's not that cool cyberspace that we all saw in "The Matrix", it's just a place where people post documents and then other people read them.  It's like "Facebook: the Movie" even though I realize it's probably a bit more relevant than that.  (NOTE: I'm not on Facebook, though I have to spend time there for work reasons - from what I can tell, simply everyone is convinced their child is special or attractive, and they simply can't all be right.)  

Here's what used to be exciting about movies - secret agents struggling to get files on to a hard drive, and then delivering that drive in spectacular fashion, via a car chase with lots of explosions or something, back to the embassy in the nick of time.  Here's what's not exciting about today's movies: pages and pages of documents opening on a screen, pressing buttons on a keyboard so that files will be uploaded on a server, the excitement of refreshing a browser, or watching completion bars fill rapidly.  Ooooooh - it's like someone turned my office computer into a thriller!  But it gets worse - watching people agonize over moral decisions regarding redacting classified information is just not cinematic enough.  Please, for the love of God, more show and less tell!  

Journalists, government officials, hackers all swarming around, trying to convince me that what I'm watching is important - maybe it is, but if so, then you shouldn't have to oversell it.  Lack of action in a film could possibly be overcome by great acting, but it was hard for me to determine what was acting and what was just an accent.  I do feel like I know more about Julian Assange than I did before, but he was still sort of presented as a mystery wrapped in an enigma outside a crunchy moral dilemma center.  I get that he stands for getting information out, but does he ultimately want to save the world or watch it burn?  

I'm a little confused about why someone would start a web-site to protect whistle-blowers before he actually knew of any, why the process existed before there was a need for it - that would be a bit like building an 8-lane highway before someone invented cars.  Was it like that ballpark in "Field of Dreams", if you build it, they will come?

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (last seen in "August: Osage County"), Daniel Brühl (last seen in "Joyeux Noel"), David Thewlis (last seen in "RED 2"), Peter Capaldi (last seen in "World War Z"), Alicia Vikander, Laura Linney (last seen in "A Simple Twist of Fate"), Anthony Mackie (last seen in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"), Stanley Tucci (last seen in "The Devil Wears Prada"), Alexander Siddig (last seen in "Syriana"), Carice Van Houten, with cameos from Hillary Clinton, Brian Williams, 

RATING: 4 out of 10 chat messages 

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