A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA’s role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.
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I first heard about the CIA bringing planeloads of narcotics into the country back in the 1970's, from a Vietnam vet who helped load the planes with heroin. To some, this is "conspiracy theory". To me, it's old news. Anyway, isn't that the CIA's job, dirty tricks, deposing elected governments that oppose corporate interests, and so on? This isn't great cinema, but it should be an important story for any American.
It's easy to watch a film like Cuesta's and dismiss it as a reality of a twilight zone of sorts, as if it doesn't really concern us. It's easier to accept what we want to hear than dare to change. Kill the Messenger has strong ideas but doesn't always managed to gut the truth to the point of revolt. Renner carries the film with a down to earth, sincere and almost raw performance of a man who desires a better place.
With a first-rate performance by Jeremy Renner, Michael Cuesta's KILL THE MESSENGER is a furiously directed biopic and tragic drama about reporter Gary Webb's efforts to "tell the truth". Beautifully lensed by Sean Bobitt, here's a film that also has the balls to end on a complete downer with our hero literally leaving the frame. One thing though. Sorry, gotta ask: was Gary Webb really as dashing as Jeremy Renner?
With a dark sense of humor, Americans love to hear themselves talk about the so-called "freedom of the press". But whose freedom is it, exactly? One should ask the forgotten heroes of investigative journalism. The three or four that are still alive, that is. Factoid: There are 5 PR people every 1 journalist in the US. "You don't have journalists over there anymore." (Robert Crumb, 2015)
Excellent "reporter chasing the story nobody wants to tell" film, though it would have just been average if not for Jeremey Renner's performance and the subdued direction. Oh and don't smoke crack. Apparently that's bad. Just fyi.