KILL THE MESSENGER – Rated R

Kill the messenger poster

Michael Cuesta branches away from the comfort zone of Executive producing TV series like HOMELAND and DEXTER, to try his hand at Directing this time around, as he brings the true story of Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist Gary Webb’s life with – KILL THE MESSENGER.

As we flash back to the 1990’s – Journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) is making a modest living as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury news.  When Webb uncovers what seems to be a conspiracy involving the CIA and their trafficking of Cocaine into the U.S., and possibly guns into the hands of rebels in Nicaragua, Webb is determined to find out the truth, regardless of where it might lead him.

With the backing of his Editor Anna Simmons (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and his publisher too, Webb dives head first into finding out what really happened.  As the investigation seems to be uncovering more and more illegal activity, Webb’s wife Sue (Rosemarie DeWitt), is trying to keep the home fires burning back in California, and their three children happy, while Webb seeks out the individuals who know the REAL STORY.

Webb is one fantastic investigative reporter, as he identifies the culprits who have been turning LA in to the “CRACK CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE” as he also uncovers who is behind providing arms to the Contra rebels – our very own CIA – as he prepares to release this vital information with his journalistic series – “Dark Alliance.”

What sounded like a great idea in theory – exposing the CIA and it’s operatives for all their wrong doing – ends up backfiring on Webb – as he soon finds himself not being backed by his sources, or his paper for that matter, while the Federal Government breaths down everyone’s neck to make him stop his story telling……

Will Webb be able to finish the job he started, and bring to light everything he has uncovered against the CIA?  Will his professional – and maybe his personal life begin too begin to unravel – as this story is apparently bigger than anyone had anticipated, including his wife? And will the CIA make Webb’s life so unbearable, that he sees no other way to save his family from the destruction he has brought upon them by this investigation, than to take his own life?

I give KILL THE MESSENGER a B+:  Jeremy Renner is bound to be on the radar of any group giving out awards this year, as his performance as journalist Gary Webb was exceptional!  Seeing this story unfold through Renner’s remarkable performance as Webb, made for an incredible 2+ hours of viewing enjoyment.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosemarie DeWitt also did wonderful work in their key roles, and the cameo appearance by Andy Garcia, as a drug king-pin was absolutely perfect too!  I have to say that it never seems like a good idea to take on the Feds to uncover their secrets, but it is because of brave individuals like Gary Webb, that we get to live as we do in this incredible country we call HOME.  It is also amazing to me too, that stories like Gary Webb’s – which seem to be whisked under the rug – as I am sure I am not the only one who didn’t know his story until I viewed this film – seem to rear their ugly heads once again, when a story of this magnitude must be told, and they usually are, and in a BIG WAY, on a BIG SCREEN for all the world to see 😉

If you love espionage and intrigue, and film adaptations of real life, then KILL THE MESSENGER is one film you have to see at a theater near you!

Kathy Kaiser