Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Kill The Messenger | Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Lucas Hedges, Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta | Review

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5sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT Judy Thorburn

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5lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT


Kill The Messenger

As the title suggests, it is often the person delivering bad news that is crucified, regardless of his or her well meaning intentions.

That is the predicament an investigative news reporter finds himself in as detailed in this dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb.  

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner turns in his most powerful, intense performance since “The Hurt Locker” and is the film's driving force.  He plays Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury, who in 1996 was given some top secret, classified information that exposed the CIA’s involvement in using drug money to support (as in funding arms) for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels under the Reagan administration.

Once his series of articles is published under the title “Dark Alliance” and the news goes global, blowing the lid on dangerous allegations that the powers that be don't want revealed, what follows are ugly repercussions that take a personal toll on the obsessed, unyielding Webb and his family, especially his supportive wife of 20 years, Sue (an excellent Rosemarie DeWitt), and their eldest of three children, 17 year old son (Lucas Hedges). Along with the government's attempt to destroy Webb's credibility through uncorroborated sources, and character assassination by digging up and exposing his past indiscretions, rival newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, are hard at work to discredit Webb’s story, simply because they are jealous that they didn't get the scoop before he did.

Among the strong supporting cast are Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Anna Simons, Webb's editor,  Oliver Platt as Webb's editor in chief Jerry Ceppos and Andy Garcia as Meneses, a Nicaraguan drug lord. Appearing in vital cameo roles are Michael Sheen, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta, Michael K. Williams, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Gil Bellows, and Richard Schiff.  

Working from Peter Landesman's taut script, director Michael Cuesta (Homeland) skillfully weaves a tale of suspense in this explosive political thriller in which he incorporates actual archival news footage. Examined is just how well our government adheres to truth, justice and the American way, and the price one man pays as a whistleblower for refusing to back down, regardless of threats, to do what he believes is right in exposing illegal covert operations tied to the crack cocaine plague on our nation's streets.

Horrifying and troubling, Kill The Messenger is an important, thought provoking film about the abuse of power that should be seen.