Yet another “based on a true story” film, Kill the Messenger is a Jeremy Renner vehicle highlighting the endeavors of investigative journalist Gary Webb. As far as I was concerned, this pretty much arrived “under the radar” which sometimes isn’t a bad thing. While the Iran Contra Affair is something people of my age were aware of, being on the “other side of the pond” means it’s one of those “oh, I remember that” moments in history. Kill the Messenger doesn’t deal directly with this inauspicious period in America’s political life; rather it attempts to pay tribute to a particular individual whose modus operandi was to unearth the truth surrounding these events and the implications they had on major American cities and their inherent drug issues.
That Gary Webb was ultimately vilified for his work lends an air of uncertainty to the accusations he made. Clearly there are points within the timeframe that are of public record and so cannot be denied. Those other events within the story that fall within the “your word against mine” realm will further entrench your viewpoint or cast doubt upon the whole. It’s disappointing to think that throughout this process, nothing was recorded – covertly or otherwise – to support the claims made. One can’t help but wonder why such measures were not taken to enable the truth to reveal itself fully without recourse. This reliance on hand-written notes in an age where digital recording was fairly commonplace only helps to strengthen the argument that these were all unsubstantiated “facts”. The ending of the film leaves you with a sense of injustice – the post-script message given to the audience a timely reminder that some stones cannot be overturned without consequences.
The cast is peppered with quality, lending a sense of gravitas to the proceedings. From Richard Schiff to Oliver Platt, Barry Pepper to Michael Sheen, those that orbit around Jeremy Renner provide as much interest and investment in the storytelling process as Mr. Renner. Fine cameos from Robert Patrick, Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta, as well as sterling work from Mary Elizabeth Winstead round out the proceedings. While it is never to hit the heights of All the President’s Men, Kill the Messenger is a welcome addition to the sphere of journalistic endeavor stories and one which I urge you to check out if you have the opportunity.
Thank you for reading 🙂