TIFF kicked off on Thursday with the premier of THE FIFTH ESTATE. It is the real life story WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Assange and a colleague team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. They create a website that allows anyone to anonymously leak covert data. After the premier the reviews were mixed. A press screening before Thursday night was inexplicably cancelled at the last-minute. Possibly to avoid bad press before TIFF’s opening night. Toronto’s Now newspaper thought “Is it ironic that the press won’t be able to declassify an Assange movie before the public can reach its own conclusions? Is TIFF effectively WikiLeaking its WikiLeaks movie?” Assahge himself that ‘it is a pack of lies and “a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff” Some wondered why THE FIFTH ESTATE was chosen to open the festival, with Scott Feinberg predicting no real Oscar run except for a few acting nominations.
Alex Sustine at Moviefone:
Although a film examining the current state of digital journalism sounds best suited for a niche market, the overarching story of “Fifth Estate” has the makings of a compelling, unique drama: a conflicted man looks to change the world through ethically and morally questionable means. But instead, the movie treads familiar ground by making sweeping generalizations about digital culture that are as simplistic as they are obvious: the Internet is changing everything; everyone is connected; and a handful of folks, armed with laptops, can bring any government to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, these ideas push the film into the realm of silly hacker stereotypes and shallow portrayals. Alas, even in the 21st Century, it’s still difficult for Hollywood to talk about the information age like a sophisticated adult.
Scott Feinberg wrote:
Some words from Twitter.
It wasn’t all negative.
The Toronto film festival, which runs through September 15, will showcase 366 feature films, including 146 world premieres.