11.9 C
Byron Shire
August 1, 2021

Cinema review – The Fifth Estate

Latest News

Byron beach erosion

Ann Tiernan, Suffolk Park I strongly disagree with Council’s position stated in last week’s Echo that ‘The sand (at Clarkes Beach)...

Other News

Nolan’s Soapbox

Duncan Shipley-Smith, Byron Bay The sinister suggestion by Nolan in last week’s Echo conflating anti-vaccination supporters with extreme right-wing ideology (XRW)...

Ballina Shire Council supports application for new croquet club

The Ballina Croquet Club is hoping to receive up to $300,000 in funding for a new club house at Cawarra Park. 

Fake news

Ron Priestley, Main Arm What Neil Bowhay is proposing (Letters, 14 July) is that The Echo prints fake news. It is people...

Saddle Road land snapped up for $10m

A picturesque property in Brunswick Heads that was once slated to become an eco-village may become a light industrial precinct after the owners sold it to a developer for $10 million. 

Ink Gin still a winner

S Haslam Has it already been six years since I first saw a demonstration of the curious colour-changing properties of...

Independent councillor calls for online voting

A manageable and easy-to-navigate system was necessary, Cr Allsop said, one that allowed 'equal presence for all candidates'.

In 1949, the great English novelist JB Priestley, because of his politics, was blacklisted by George Orwell from contributing to a government organ, a piece of trivia that sprang to mind when WikiLeaks was irreverently referred to as ‘Big Brother’ in this over-long but even-handed account of the Julian Assange soap opera.

If nothing else, the ostracism of Priestley supports the idea that those who would change the world inevitably wish to recreate it in their own image. But keyboard warriors need a hero as much as any low-brow footy tragic and Assange, played here in The Fifth Estate with irksome arrogance and growing paranoia (and an excellent Australian accent) by Benedict Cumberbatch, fits the bill for a certain type of privileged radical.

It begins with Assange and his German associate Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) on the eve of their sensational online exposure of the thousands of secret US military documents forwarded to them by the now jailed whistleblower, Pvt Bradley Manning, then flashes back three years to cover the rollercoaster ride of WikiLeaks’ growing notoriety.

By treating them as though unrelated, director Bill Condon tends to make a dog’s breakfast of the movie’s three significant themes. The relationship between Assange and Domscheit-Berg closely resembles the exploitative one that pulled Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin apart in The Social Network – Brühl, after coping with the overbearing James Hunt in Rush, is a natural for the part, and the more sympathetic of the two men.

The looming shift in media influence, from newspapers and traditional journalism to the internet, is clearly understood by The Guardian’s Alan Rushbridger (Peter Capaldi), who is desperate to form a publishing alliance with what he sees as an information source that might make hard-copy obsolete.

But the most serious issue, of just how much ‘knowledge’ should be freely accessible before others’ lives are put at risk and the cosy freedom with which we lounge in front of our laptops is threatened, is evaded.

That Assange is afforded a preachy coda, speaking to camera, stuck in my craw.

~ John Campbell

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A day of ‘thank you’

Alison Drover, Broken Head How about a day of ‘thank you’ to our health workers and ‘sorry’ from our prime minister and ‘please’ from the community? Instead...

Nolan’s Soapbox

Duncan Shipley-Smith, Byron Bay The sinister suggestion by Nolan in last week’s Echo conflating anti-vaccination supporters with extreme right-wing ideology (XRW) demands a response. This is...

Shooting in Nimbin

There is a police operation currently underway in Nimbin following a shooting earlier today.

Knife-wielding criminal on the loose in Byron Bay

A terrifying media release is still on the loose in Byron Bay after escaping from the computers of Council candidates Rhett Holt and Cr Alan Hunter.  'It is a frightful to wake up at three in the morning to a man blood dripping with a backpack full of knives using your shower,' the [sic] release said...