Movie Details
Kill The Messenger

Kill The Messenger

Based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to allegations that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua. Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy with explosive implications and draws the kind of attention that threatens not just his career, but his family and his life.

Language: English
Subtitle: Malay / Chinese
Classification: 18
General Release Date: 09 Oct 2014
Genre: Drama / Crime / Mystery
Running Time: 1 Hour 52 Minutes
Distributor: GSC MOVIES
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta
Director: Michael Cuesta
Format: 2D



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Review
Writer: Casey Lee

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 3.0 Out of 5
Plot: 3.0 Out of 5
Effects: 3.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.0 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: "All The President's Men" and "The Fifth Estate"

The Good, the Bad and the Messenger:

"Some stories are just too true to tell" is what San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb is told when he grills his next source about an arrangement by the CIA to smuggle drugs into the United States that are used to fund the Nicaraguan Contras in the 90s. Serious journalism is a dirty business, but it is the drive to find the untainted truth that compels journalists like Webb to go wherever it takes him to get the story. Based on two books about Webb's expose that leads to his death, "Kill the Messenger" is just one of those stories that are too true to tell that director Michael Cuesta finds himself balancing on the tightrope before falling off, instead of reaching the compelling story it could have been.

"Kill the Messenger" starts off strong as Webb is given the first few leads of the wider conspiracy, running from judicial courts to prison courtyards, talking to shady and secretive sources that are played admirably if not with any notable nuance. Although the crisscross cutting by our censors as if they were the intelligence agency blackening the documents found by Webb tends to muddle the continuity of the larger picture, the truth as it is uncovered piece by piece still leads to a gob smacking conclusion with ground shifting implications. However, after the facts have been published and the short period of celebration have pattered out, "Kill the Messenger" starts to kill itself by focusing on its titular messenger when the forces of the newsroom, media, and government converge on their common enemy.

Jeremy Renner's performance here is faultless for the character, but it is the confined barriers being put before by director Michael Cuesta and the adapted screenplay of Peter Landesman that supplies Renner with insufficient material to play out as the disgraced journalist, to reach within the echelons of an Oscar consideration. There are too few outbursts or heart rending scenes to truly see how the smear campaign has destroyed Webb, and his last speech about journalism hits too few on the poignancy buttons to really get down on what journalism really takes out of a person in order to find the truth and how it should be received.

While "Kill the Messenger" may not be in favor to win any awards come awards season, but it stands on its own merits as a cautionary tale to those in the news-making business that deserves at least one viewing.

Look Out For:

When Webb visits a drug lord in a Nicaraguan prison.

Trivia:

Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise were once considered for the role of Gary Webb.

Best Watched With:

Anyone with a passion for writing and a journalism background should treat this movie as part of their self-development case study.

Cinema Online, 14 October 2014
   

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