The problem with Fifth Estate is basically that it’s about Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s doubts and personal conflicts. Who cares about Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s doubts and personal conflicts? The approachable character who introduces us to the antihero is fine as long as we get to know the antihero at some point. Here what we learn about Assange is that he maybe dyes his own hair in the sink, or maybe Daniel Domscheit-Berg does for entirely different reasons. When I watch Ladyhawke I always try to imagine Matthew Broderick is not even there. And I like my Blade Runner without the voice-over.
Personally, I wanted to know about Assange, specifically about his vision in terms of IT. I wanted to know about Mendax, about listening to whistleblowers and read the big data to get the big picture. And who is the host anyway? Where are the servers? Of course the entire IT aspect was reduced to the ridiculous metaphor of a large virtual office full of servers and of mirrored Assanges, which was ordinary, but at least there were many Cumberbatches.
I was also happy to see Thewlis. Have you ever envisioned that Johnny from Naked could have grown up to become a journalist for the Guardian?
Anyway, the ending kind of redeems the dubious operation, because it invites the viewer to consider the film in perspective, which is always healthy and it’s also something you have to keep in mind in IT. Because no matter the accessibility of the source, no matter the size of the dataflow, no matter your natural language processing or statistics, no matter all you data science, no matter your agenda, you are the one who has to make sense of information, you can’t expect others to do it for you because no one will. <em>You want the truth, you should seek it out for yourself</em>.
Yeah I know I know, I shouldn’t have taken Agent Mulder so seriously back in the Nineties.
One bewildering poll.