Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blu-Ray Review: The Fifth Estate!

Here is my first blu-ray review of 2014! It is for the Dreamworks movie The Fifth Estate.

This movie follows the rise and fall of WikiLeaks, a website created by Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his associate Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Bruhl). Assange wants to create a place online for whistleblowers to remain anonymous while exposing government and corporate secrets. While not your typical thriller filled with car chases and explosions, this is a throwback thriller that unfolds quietly as a political drama.

WikiLeaks exposes corruption with a leading bank and they put themselves on the map. Soon, they are releasing more hard hitting news than any of the world's news organizations. Then they come across a massive amount of secret documents about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The film does a great job of walking the fine line of showing the two sides of Assange. We see not only the man that he says he is but also as the complex, troubled man that is very arrogant, filled with paranoia and suffering from deep family issues.

We see how Assange gets Berg to join him in his cause. Over time we see that Assange is gaining more and more control over Berg's life. The relationship between these two men is the driving force of this film. The road from admiration to pure hostility is fantastic. Two solid acting performances from from of my favorite current actors. 

Video Quality
The 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation is just about perfect here. Natural and lifelike colors are represented throughout. Details are razor sharp and clean. Just another terrific presentation.

Audio Quality
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is solid with little to no issues. The dialogue is crystal clear and the surround sound is very immersive as you feel like you are really in crowded bars, busy city streets, and cramped apartments. 

Bonus Features
This film offers only a few bonus features. I wish they offered an audio commentary but that seems to be a thing of the past. AS a fan of audio commentaries I find this trend disturbing. I like to get more insight into the movies I am watching. But here are the three bonus features:
  • The Submission Platform: Visual Effects (HD, 10 minutes): Both Director Bill Condon and Production Designer Mark Tildesley dissect the film's online platform set. They show concepts created during the development as well as a few scenes that show off the online platform. 
  • In-Camera: Graphics (HD, 6 minutes): A look at some of the practical effects used on set with the actors for some of the shots using computer text, projections and other elements. 
  • Scoring Secrets (HD, 9 minutes): Composer Carter Burwell discusses his score.
In the end it is up to you to decide if Assange is a hero or a traitor. Amazing performances and editing add more interest to what is a war of wills and words into something truly cinematic! The blu-ray release comes with an excellent video presentation, a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a short
list of bonus features. Once again I wish there was an audio commentary here. 

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