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“The Fifth Estate”: WikiLeaks as failed bromance

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange in the pseudo-current thriller “The Fifth Estate” – and the match ends in a bitter nil-nil draw, as they’d say on British TV. This movie isn’t terrible enough to derail the “Sherlock Holmes” star’s upward trajectory toward pop-culture domination, but Cumberbatch’s subtle and intriguing performance as the inscrutable Aussie loner behind WikiLeaks is surrounded by a plodding and minor melodrama that’s ludicrously ill suited to the material. Assange, meanwhile, has orchestrated a campaign of invective against director Bill Condon’s film, and even against Cumberbatch, from his self-exile in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, but he needn’t have bothered. The world will little note nor long remember this damped-down, mistimed dishwater retelling of one of our young century’s signal events.

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