The Fifth Estate (2013)

IMDB plot:

A dramatic thriller based on real events 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.

Some spoilers that should never be disclosed to the public may be disclosed.

This is not a movie based on a book. This is a movie based on TWO books — or so it says in the opening credits.

The movie follows the story of Julian Assange, from the time WikiLeaks was basically unknown to the point it got so famous, he had to hide in Equatorian embassy in London.

The whole thing is not Julian telling of his story, it’s mostly about how Daniel Berg/Daniel Bomscheit-Berg saw WikiLeaks rise to notoriety after he joined it. Also, the movie is not about WikiLeaks, but about Assange himself. Because Assange and WikiLeaks are so tied together, to tell the story of one, you basically tell the story of the other.

Reviewing the plot is too damn hard. First, because the story of WikiLeaks is a public one and second because, since it focus on Assange, it makes hard to say anything that won’t spoil everything. But still: In the very beginning, WikiLeaks disclosed documents about corruption in some African countries, then showing neo-nazis in one of England political parties, then exposed a large German bank, then displaying the murder of some Reuters reporters by the American military, which came with the cable communications which finally put the website in the spotlight of journalistic stage[1]. In all those “stepping stones”, the movie shows Assange reactions: How his platform for anonymous disclosure worked, how he managed to convince whistleblowers to publish the information they had in the site, how he dealt with the classic journalism and his ideals for the disclosing information. But to sum it, it shows Assange worried much more about the “ideals” of the WikiLeaks than the persons involved in it. IN a way, it shows that he was right, there shouldn’t be a distinction between disclosing information about neo-nazis in the government and the names of informants in Afghanistan; in the other, it shows that he was wrong, putting the very lifes of those informants in danger.

Yes, it’s not a faltering picture of Assange, but I guess moviemakers love this kind of stuff to paint their subjects more “human”. There is also the way the movie portraits the software part. As usual, it’s gibberish. It offends anyone that knows a thing or two about computers, which is basically the majority of people that followed these events unfolding — which is basically anyone capable of using the internet. But hey, better look cool than looking correct, right?

It is hard to describe acting. Benedict Cumberbatch, to me, is a “one trick pony” and seems to always act the same way. Surely, it may fit real Assange but still… Daniel Brühl, on the other hand, really seems like a real person.

I give it 7 out of 8 cables for it.

[1] Or, at least, that’s the way the movie tells the story.

Rush (2013)

IMDB plot:

The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

We can’t stop here, this is spoiler country. Also, I’ll keep jumping between reality and movie all the time, because this is based on real facts.

First disclaimer: I’m a Formula 1 fan. Second disclaimer: Even if you don’t like Formula 1, you may like this movie. Why? Because Formula 1 is just a background noise used to tell you a much larger story.

Going forward: The movie focus on the events in the 1976 season of Formula 1, when Niki Lauda fierce competition with James Hunt reached its apex. Who, you may ask? Sure, you can ask. And this is answered at two points in the movie: In the first 10 minutes and in the last 5, showing perfectly the changes each driver had in the curse of the season.

But the movie starts before the 1976 season. It shows both drivers starting on Formula 3, going to Formula 1 till the end of the 1976 season, when both had equipareted cars (as Hunt says in the movie), passing through Hunt downfall, his sudden luck in the very start of 1976 season, Lauda terrible accident in Nürburgring that year and what happened after that.

Acting is alright. I mean, Daniel Brühl did an absolutely killer job at Inglourious Basterds and although his presentation here isn’t at the same level, it isn’t bad either. Or maybe Lauda is really that taciturn, in which Daniel does a perfect impression. Chris Hemsworth is a weird case. I mean, it isn’t bad, but his lines feel a lot… unnatural in the whole. On the other hand, when the movie shows real images of Hunt, you can see that Hemsworth managed to capture all the manerisms in a nearly identical fashion.

Sadly, everyone else is mostly decorative. Olivia Wilde/Suzy Hunt nee Miller and Alexandra Maria Lara/Marlene Lauda are important to the plot — added aspects in the way both drivers changed their personalities and showing how different their lifestyles were — but they are in no way given enough focus.

On the other hand, I have to seriously compliment Ron Howard in the way he directed the movie, Hans Zimmer for the music and the whole sound editing team. And by that I mean the continuous use of different things to show the emotional state of the movie: the blurred vision of Lauda when he’s afraid and returning to his normal, confident self — in an scene that comically reminded me of “Days of Thunder” and “pilot narrowly escapes another tragedy and regains his full confidence clichè –; the muffling of track sounds (including the whole start up line roaring of engines) when the drivers close their helmets; the really really slow motion scenes in the very start of the Japan GP, the last one that would say if Lauda would win the championship or if Hunt would be crowded, showing the tension in the air; the engine pistons working first in slow motion and then slowly going into normal speed when Hunt goes back into his original, fighting self. All those make the movie simply great, by using other effects than simply camera or someone saying something.

(Just a small sidenote: Zimmer works is getting greater each movie he works on.)

Sure there is more drama than reality in the movie, but it doesn’t mean the story behind isn’t interesting and that the drama destroys the story — after all, this is not a biographical movie, but “based on real facts”. There is a whole scene about Hunt punching a reporter due an aggresive question about Lauda appearance post-accident which nobody can confirm it really happened, but people who knew Hunt said “Yeah, that is something he would do.” So, even if it is a drama “based on real facts”, there is too much ressoancen with real life that even if some situations really didn’t happen, at least it is something people who knew the real “actors” in this say “yeah, it could’ve happened.”

I can’t vouche the movie for the actors, but I can seriously recommend it based solely on the work of Howard, Zimmer and the sound team. So go watch it, it is worth.