While the Australian hacker's off-screen life attracts many people, reviewers tell a different tale about the film adaptation.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the film's ongoing look at one-on-one drama between Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his associate Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl) will make you wish it was never leaked.
Below are five reviews that all share a similar critique.
The movie repeatedly disregards its first-rate supporting cast. And why do we waste time on empty scenes of symbolism, or Daniel's dull romance, when we barely even hear about Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Assange's most important source?
"The Fifth Estate," the second film this year depicting the story behind WikiLeaks and its infamous founder, is merely tepid and slightly disjointed in its portrayal of a fascinating subject and equally fascinating character.
Like nearly every other movie that tries to confront that elusive, pervasive force head on, this one quickly loses track of what it is talking about. The challenge of conveying, on screen, the special intensity of online life is formidable.
As part of an exceptionally strong season of fact-based dramas on screen, "The Fifth Estate," about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrives with something of a shrug. At its best, the film works as a serious showcase for its capable star, the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who delivers an eerily on-point portrayal of the enigmatic central character.
Like so many movies inspired by recent history, "The Fifth Estate" doesn't reveal so much as it restates. It's a condensed-for-drama highlight reel that covers Assange's rise from lonely hacker activist to media sensation and global governmental irritant.