By Darlene Donloe
Kill The Messenger, set for release Friday, Oct. 10, is more than just a movie about Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. It’s also an indictment on the journalism profession.
Kill The Messenger, set in the 1990s and directed by Michael Cuesta, tells the story of Gary Webb, a fearless investigative reporter who pulled back the curtain on the CIA’s ties to crack trade.
The film, a complex dramatic thriller, is based on Webb’s true story. It starts out by showing how he stumbled on a story that eventually led down some dark, political alleys. It opens up the proverbial not talked about can of worms that revealed the origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the streets of America.
Webb is fed some secret Grand Jufy transcripts by a cocaine trafficker’s girlfriend, Coral Baca (Paz Vega). What he uncovers reveals a link between U.S. intelligence and Central American cocaine smuggling. It’s an eye-opening movie that alleges that the CIA was not only aware of major drug infiltration, but was actually working with Nicaraguan rebels to smuggle cocaine into the U.S., using the profits to art Contra militias.
It soon becomes a game of cat and mouse with Webb eventually becoming the cheese. After Webb’s story is published in 1996 in the San Jose Mercury News, his life takes a eerie and dramatic turn and he somehow becomes the story. In the beginning he had the backing of his paper’s editor Anna Simons. The series of stories ran with the title, ‘Dark Alliance.’ The stories gained nationwide attention. The stories left many big city editors scratching their heads, wondering how they could have missed such a big story.
Soon the accolades stop and Webb’s editor begins to back down from her support. His reporting is questioned by everyone, so is his integrity. Many reporters, who missed the story, move to not only discredit his work, but also his reputation.
Webb is played spectacularly by two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner, who gives a riveting performance.
The supporting cast is equally impressive.
Kill The Messenger, directed by Cuesta, stars Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Michael Kenneth Williams, Andy Garcia, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lucas Hedges, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Oliver Platt and Paz Vega.
Kill The Messenger (Focus Features) is Rated R: (for language and drug content); Running time: 112 minutes.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Kill The Messenger gets an O (oh, yeah).
Following are some clips:
Freeway Ricky Ross:
I'm Writing The Story: