The Fifth Estate

Ryan Ozawa
Director of Communications, Hawaii Information Serivce

What is your official title/occupation? Local geek dad … and director of communications for Hawaii Information Service.


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The Fifth Estate

Where and with whom did you see the movie? I was thrilled to be able to have a date night with my wife Jennifer, who was in turn thrilled to have an imaginary date night with the star of the film, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Overall, what did you think? I’m a sucker for anything involving technology and journalism, so I had fun. And I agree with my wife that Cumberbatch is both cute and talented. But beyond that, it was disappointingly tepid. It’ll work just fine on basic cable.

Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes? Though melodramatic, I liked the moment where the noble mainstream media realizes what they’ve created in their coverage of and partnership with Wikileaks.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film? ★★.

What did you think of the cinematography? As a geek, it was interesting to catch where they tried their best to realistically depict computer hacking, yet enjoy some of the bizarre ways the film tried to metaphorically depict what was going on behind the nebulous Wikileaks “army.”

Was the message/theme clear? I’d say the message was muddled, in part because the story is still unfinished. It doesn’t paint Julian Assange in a great light, but doesn’t condemn him enough for his critics, either.

Did it remind you of any other works of film? I think it aspired to evoke the same mood and tech savvy of The Social Network but fell short. It was not as hysterically ridiculous as The Net, nor did it have the campy fun of Hackers.

To whom would you recommend this movie? Maybe to high school journalism students. If such a species still exists.

Did any of the actors stand out? “The Batch,” as my daughter calls him, was the best part of the film. It was fun to see Laura Linney and Stanley Tucci, but it seemed like they were in a completely different (yet equally ridiculous) movie.

Did you identify with any of the characters? It’s hard not to root for starry-eyed, idealistic geeks who embrace technology and think all information wants to be free. But then you remember the real world.

Did the soundtrack contribute significantly to the film? I can’t remember a single track, besides Outro from M83, which I liked before this movie used it.

Would you buy this movie when it comes out on DVD? Probably not.

What’s your favorite movie snack? Popcorn with butter, kaki mochi and Sno-Caps!

On a different note, what’s new with you? I’m having a blast talking tech and showcasing local innovation on Hawaii Public Radio and Hawaii News Now, and I still tell myself I’m going to blog more often.