TIFF 2013 - The Fifth Estate Premiere

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC. All Rights Reserved

“Courage is contagious”


I admit I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I have two reasons for that. (Although it is almost one and the same.)

One. I was lucky to get a rush ticket for “The Fifth Estate”.

Two. The movie itself.

Let me start with how I got the ticket. It is my second TIFF and the first time I rushed a ticket. I have never done that before. I tried to google it, I asked around. People kept saying quite opposite things: some said I should be there at least 30 minutes early, others - no less than 3 hours for a gala. Some people said that there would be only 35-40 tickets, others - over a hundred.

I was confused. So this is my experience, hope somebody would find it helpful.

I live near Elgin theatre, so after work I rushed home and then was at the venue at 5pm - one and a half hours before the start. There were two screenings at one location: “The Fifth Estate” at 6.30pm and “Blue is The Warmest Colour” at 7pm. (I wanted to see both movies, but Estate was my priority.)

The rush line started at BMO on Yonge and then turned the corner to Queen street. When I arrived there, there was a pretty long line and I felt a bit sad, because I thought there was NO way everyone would get in.

The line was for both movies. Surprisingly, almost everyone around me wanted to see Blue and not Estate. (I really hope I will catch that movie later.)

One of TIFF staff members did a count (twice). First, around the time I came. Second, around 6pm. By the second count we were told that there are about 85 people ahead of us for “The Fifth Estate” and about 30 - for “Blue Is The Warmest Colour”. It seemed like the odds were against me, but we were told that it almost impossible to predict the amount of tickets that would be released.

Around 10-15 minutes after 6pm the queue started to move. At 6.30pm we rounded the corner to Yonge street. People around me were saying that the movie must have started already. Others were saying that it was the first premiere, so they would probably delay it.

Then one of the volunteers called everyone for Estate to move forward and queue closer to the theatre, where we were given tokens and then literary ran to the ticket office.

Meanwhile there was a red carpet and paparazzi waiting for the celebrities. I didn’t expect Benedict to show up because there was another screening at Roy Thompson Hall at 8pm that he seemed most probably to want to attend. And as far as I know he never showed up at Elgin. It is difficult to say who did for Estate, besides the producer.

I was in the line to the box office and I had a very slim view of the entrance. Flashes were going off - somebody must have arrived. I admit at complete ignorance. I didn’t recognize anyone who was walking through - they might have been for the second movie. I believe the Estate cast was only at RTH.

There was a nice elder gentleman in the line beside me. He asked me if I was there for The Fifth Estate. He asked me if I knew who Benedict Cumberbatch was and if I saw Sherlock. He said he really enjoyed Sherlock. And then asked me if I had seen Benedict in some other series/movies. I admit I was so distracted and excited about the whole buzz and being almost there that I didn’t get what he was talking about. And only later I realized that he might have been talking about Hawking. I am not sure though. Too bad I didn’t have chance to talk more to that gentleman. I always enjoy discussing Sherlock with everyone.

That gentleman also seemed to be an experienced TIFF goer, because while I was being all excited and confused about the crowd of people who were rushing to get the tickets, he managed to squeeze to the box window and get the ticket before me and a couple of people ahead of me. I hope he enjoyed the movie as much as I did :)

I got my ticket for $45 (adult price for galas) and rushed inside. I guess we all were lucky because the movie started later. They showed a short video devoted to Roger Ebert (late film critic) and then the movie producer talked briefly about “The Fifth Estate”. The movie started at 7pm.

I admit I couldn’t believe my luck until the movie started. I was so happy (and still am!) that I was so lucky to get a ticket!

Now the movie itself. (Not really spoilers, but watch out nevertheless.)

I have heard about Wikileaks, but I didn’t know anything about Julian Assange. This is what I liked to do the most - go and see a movie/play or start watching a TV show knowing nothing about it beforehand. I liked to be surprised. I hate spoilers.

I did see the trailer, but that was it.

To put it simply, I loved the movie. Benedict is quite brilliant as Assange, he doesn’t even sound as himself! Except for one scene at the bar, where he did sound mostly like himself. Otherwise everything from accent to the voice pitch and gestures was really different.

At some point I even forgot that he was not naturally blond - he looked so authentic.

Quite a few lovely jokes in the movie, the ending seemed to be open, but it is to be expected since the story is still going on. Several tearful moments - great acting from everyone. I admit that I didn’t know whom I sympathized with the most.

I think the best thing about this movie is that they are not pointing fingers. They are showing this story from both sides and there is no black or white. Julian seems to be the good guy, but his actions bring consequences that hurt other good people, who have families and children, who are innocent. And vice verse.

The ending is perfect, because nothing is definite. And part of the responsibility for deciding what is truth or what is not is put on the viewers.

It was a real treat. I encourage everyone to watch it. Benedict is amazing as Assange, and I really hope he gets some reward for playing him.


I saw a couple of photos of the man from RTH posted to twitter - looks like people had fun there. Hope some of you got the chance to see the man or/and the movie. I didn’t expect to see Benedict himself, I focused on seeing the movie and I am really glad I went to Elgin and not to RTH. I will try to rush tickets for other movies on my must watch list. Hopefully I get lucky again, but The Fifth Estate was my priority and I am so happy that I got in!

Good luck, everyone, and have fun!