The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie, Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander
Directed by: Bill Condon
Music by: Carter Burwell
Written by: Josh Singer
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 28, 2014
Based on true events, this fast-paced global thriller takes you behind the shocking headlines. The Fifth Estate reveals the Wikileak’s rebel founder’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) quest to expose fraud and corruption to the widest audience possible: the internet.
In 2010, a website dedicated to protecting whistleblowers released an avalanche of classified U.S. documents that triggered a new age of high-stakes secrecy and explosive news leaks. Now, in a dramatic thriller based on real events, DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Fifth Estate” reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned this 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 an online 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. But when Assange and Domscheit-Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they find themselves at odds as they struggle with 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?
Based on the book “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and the Guardian book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by David Leigh and Luke Harding, The Fifth Estate is an unconventional thriller that painstakingly details the WikiLeaks beginnings. There is little traditional suspense as the film feels more like a docudrama that puts not only a face but a revealing look inside the men behind WikiLeaks as we see what motivated them from both a good and bad perspective. In that regard I found the film to be interesting as I have recollections of the events unfolding in the media. The narrative’s subtext is loud and clear but I didn’t find that it was necessarily over played even where the character of Julian Assange, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, was concerned.
At the end of the day The Fifth Estate is a middling docudrama that fails to take full advantage of its subject matter. That is to take nothing away from a solid cast that features excellent performances from stars Daniel Bruhl and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The rating is for language and some violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Fifth Estate comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 Mbps.
This is a reference quality Blu-ray offering from Disney that looks terrific in high definition. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually pleasing. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are delineated with vivid primaries and warm tonality that make them pop where appropriate. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds.
The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. A large portion of the film has little need for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is conveyed with little fanfare. However there are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.
- (HD) The submission platform: Visual effects – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) In-camera: graphics – 6 minute featurette
- (HD) Scoring secrets – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Trailer & TV Spots – 8 segments
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Based on the book “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website” by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and the Guardian book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” by David Leigh and Luke Harding, The Fifth Estate is a middling docudrama that fails to take full advantage of its subject matter. That isn’t to suggest that it’s without merit as I did find aspects of the film to be quite interesting and enjoyed the performances by stars Daniel Bruhl and Benedict Cumberbatch. It comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring excellent overall high definition audio/video and a fair supplemental offering that provides a glimpse into the production. If you find the subject matter to be of interest The Fifth Estate is worth checking out on Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package