Kill the Messenger
Blu-Ray via Lovefilm
In the mid-1990s, journalist Gary Webb uncovered an alleged connection between the CIA and the importing of crack cocaine to the USA from Nicaragua.
The film tells the story of the initial discovery, the publishing of his exposé, and the fallout thereafter, with Jeremy Renner taking the leading role.
I’d read mixed, but generally positive reviews around the time this came out, but missed it at the cinema for whatever reason. I can now say that my opinion falls pretty much in the mid-range.
Renner is pretty good in the lead role. He’s sympathetic and unflashy; you can buy him as the decent reporter that never really got a big break. The supporting cast is good too, be it from Rosemarie DeWitt playing his wife Susan, Mary ELizabeth Winstead as his editor Anna, and Oliver Platt as her boss Jerry, to the numerous walk-ons from the likes of Ray Liotta, Michael Sheen, Richard Schiff, Robert Patrick, Andy Garcia and Michael K. Williams.
The first third is really good. This is the act that deals with the initial leak, and the investigation into the alleged crimes. The middle third is solid – a mix of light conspiracy, with some isolationism thrown in (Webb’s colleagues try to polite distance themselves from the story). Unfortunately, the final third is a let down (despite a great cameo from Liotta). While it is pretty criminal how Webb is shunned and hounded out, it doesn’t make for the most compelling conclusion. Admittedly, this is a real story that is being told, and you can’t change the truth to suit yourselves (unlike the CIA in this!).
Ultimately, Kill the Messenger starts out as a pulsating thriller and ends as a merely good, saddening and cautionary tale on the dangers of contemporary journalism. [3.5]