Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Kill the Messenger

Kill the Messenger
Jeremy Renner, Oliver Platt, Mary Elizabeth Winsteed, Michael K. Williams, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, and Ray Liotta

Rated: R for language and drug content.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 10, 2014 Released by: Focus Features

A compelling dramatic thriller set in 1996 with tragic ramifications comes from the talented Michael Cuesta (L.I.E.) is prescient but maybe too inconclusive for some that narratively may resonate at times with chilling exposes like Fair Game or even the superior Michael Mann drama The Insider.

Kill The Messenger stars two-time Academy-Award nominee Jeremy Renner as stealthy, if naive San Jose Mercury News investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb whose unerring idealism turned out to be his downfall.

Cuesta and scenarist Peter Landesman have made a journalism movie before the 'World Wide Web' altered and has continued to put the print business in an exponential deterioration. This kind of cinema probably is as rare as the newspaper business itself and does well for prolific prototypes like All The
President's Men

The tale has Webb moving on a lead to a conspiracy that pulls injustice and scandal into government flack and huge blowback going back to how the Reagan administration got around Congress's support of Nicaraguan Contras and earlier dealt with Iran in the hostages for arms exchange.

The driven, sly fox of a reporter will go against a press and its vulnerability and jealousies and higher machinations from a extensive story (which would earn him acclaim) across the U.S. to Nicaragua, interviewing "protected" drug-smugglers under the auspices of an agency involved in the transport of cocaine to the U.S. And, the profits of that activity went to fund the arms in Nicaragua.

Webb (who committed suicide ten years ago) and his story comes under scrutiny of bosses like editors played by Oliver Platt and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and other grounded backup comes from distinguished performers ranging from Michael K. Williams and Michael Sheen to Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta. Besides solid work by Rosemarie DeWitt (Men, Women, and Children and Rachel Getting Married) as Gary's concerned wife, Sue.

Renner has followed up his solid work in the acclaimed fact-based con-artistry of  American Hustle in another more recent period piece endowing Webb with congenial virtuousness in an unobtrusive, intriguing tale of a target where the precursors of information entertainment and media frenzy are set in motion. And, again the truth in this often heady, if discouraging hodgepodge when it comes to the dramatic disappearing of Webb and readers of what a tenacious breed of which he was a dime a dozen produced, may ironically set you free as the story sadly still unfolds.

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Kill the Messenger        B   B                  B 

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