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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Movie Review - Kill the Messenger

Kill the Messenger (2014)
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, and Andy Garcia
Directed by Michael Cuesta

For full disclosure's sake, I nearly stopped Kill the Messenger at the forty minute mark, thinking that this true story about journalist Gary Webb's uncovering of CIA involvement in drug trafficking from Nicaragua to the US was a tad too slow moving and a bit too by the book in terms of the way it was handling Webb's investigation into the government conspiracy.  However, I'm actually quite happy I stuck it out because as the film progresses, it becomes much more than an investigative journey and instead begins to live up to its title as Webb (played by Jeremy Renner) becomes the target of news reports aided by CIA leaks (or lies?) that strive to bring him down by revealing secrets from his past.

The problem with Kill the Messenger is that the film's first half isn't all that interesting.  As Gary moves from location to location meeting a variety of characters uncovering minor details concerning the CIA's cover-up, the whole affair feels very rote and bland.  Fortunately, the change in tone in the second half works to the film's advantage creating a much more well-rounded character in Gary Webb who is essentially hung out to dry by his employers after the CIA and other media outlets go on a mission to discredit the reporter and the tiny newspaper for whom he works.

The performances here are all fine, but there aren't any real standouts which also doesn't help elevate the otherwise boring start to the piece.  In the end, Kill the Messenger tells an interesting story that I was certainly unaware of, but it doesn't quite elevate to a point of consistent interest.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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