Kill the Messenger

2014

Action / Biography / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

275
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 7 10 38646

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Anna Simons
Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb
Paz Vega as Coral Baca
Ray Liotta as John Cullen
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
816.93 MB
1280*720
English
R
24.000 fps
1hr 52 min
P/S 4 / 21
1.65 GB
1920*1080
English
R
24.000 fps
1hr 52 min
P/S 0 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tomgillespie2002 5 / 10

Interesting true-life tale but hollow at its core

Kill the Messenger, director Michael Cuesta's re-telling of journalist Gary Webb's expose of the CIA's illegal funding of Nicaraguan Contra rebels and its links to the crack epidemic sweeping across the country, has all the ingredients for a gripping, fact-based drama centred around a story everybody should know more about (at the time, people were distracted by Bill Clinton's White House antics involving Monica Lewinsky). Seminal movies such as All the President's Men and Zodiac portrayed the dangers that come with investigative journalism and managed keep a real-life story suspenseful despite many knowing the outcome already. Kill the Messenger sadly doesn't achieve much of this, and although the movie is competently made and solidly acted, it struggles to hold the attention it should demand by playing things frustratingly formal.

Jeremy Renner stars as Webb, the goateed, informally-dressed San Jose Mercury News reporter who carries more than a whiff of anti- establishment about him. While investigating the government seizure of drug dealer's property, even when they've been found innocent, he is handed court papers which seem to reveal that a major drug runner is actually a CIA operative. It's a revelation that will change Webb's life, and he is soon on the government's radar when he follows leads to kingpin Rick Ross (Michael Kenneth Williams) and eventually to Managua to meet with cartel boss Norwin Meneses (Andy Garcia). Everything he uncovers seems to suggest that the CIA, committing high treason in the process, is indirectly funding the wave of crack decimating entire neighbourhoods throughout the U.S. Webb reports his findings in a three-part series entitled Dark Alliance, which quickly becomes one of the internet's first viral hits, before the CIA decide to turn his world upside down.

In many ways, the story of a little guy being cruelly picked apart by higher powers is comparable to the one told in The Insider. Yet Michael Mann's masterpiece also demonstrated that a film can be grounded in fact and procedural while keeping the audience engrossed in the story it's telling. Kill the Messenger wisely reserves a large chunk of the running time for what Webb went through after breaking the story, but much of this is bogged down in clich├ęd domestic squabbles, with Rosemarie DeWitt finding herself criminally underwritten as the nagging wife whose feelings drastically change from one scene to the next. However, it has its moments, especially when showing how Webb was surgically discredited while his bosses (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Oliver Platt) slowly distanced themselves from the negative attention. Renner manages to carry the film despite not being given a whole lot to do apart from exchanging a few "I'm right, you're wrong," arguments with his colleagues. The real-life story alone is shocking enough to make the film worth a watch, but there's a emptiness at its core.

Reviewed by ryan-anderson 6 / 10

Good movie.....lousy history.

To start off with, I really enjoyed Renner's performance......and I think it's a story worth telling. But what I noticed most of all is the almost endless inaccuracies, omissions, and misleading info while watching it. Setting the record straight:

-Blandon did NOT testify that the CIA came to him and asked them to run drugs. He testified that it was either Meneses or Enrique Bermudez (in the grand jury transcript called "Enrique Ramunez"), it's not clear which one (Blandon's English wasn't clear at times), is who asked him. In either case, neither person amounts to representing the CIA: Meneses definitely was not, and Bermudez wasn't either. And Blandon himself later specifically denied that Bermudez asked him to raise money through drug smuggling. Meneses said the same thing. The SJMN quoted Bermudez (via Blandon) as saying the "ends justify the means". But Blandon himself said he didn't take that as meaning they should traffic in drugs.

-The drug cartels had set up routes and were mass importing the drugs into California and Florida (and elsewhere) before the Contras were even in business. (Ergo the Contras sparking any crack epidemic (as Webb claimed) in LA or elsewhere is preposterous.)

-It's also worth pointing out the crack epidemic did not end when the Contras shut down in 1990. Ergo, the trade obviously didn't hinge on their (or their supporters) involvement.

-To illustrate the previous point: according to 'The War on Drugs: An International Encyclopedia', by the late 1980's: "an estimated 300 Colombian trafficking groups and 20,000 Colombians were involved in the cocaine trade in the United States. At least 5,000 of the Colombians who worked for the cartels lived in the Miami area and another 6,000 in the Los Angeles area." In other words: the cartels had about as much manpower in the United States alone than were in the entire Contra movement. (The Medellin cartel employed 750,000 people in Medellin.)

-Ross had other (non-Contra) suppliers besides Blandon and he was mixed up in drugs before he ever met him. Other LA dealers (like "Tootie" Reese) had established links with the South American cartels before Blandon met Ross.

-Webb gives the number (in 'Dark Alliance'; the book not the series) Blandon sold to Ross at around 5 tons. By DEA estimates, more cocaine went to Los Angeles in a *single* year (i.e. 1980; before Blandon was selling to Ross) than Ross sold over 8-10 years.

-Ross's suppliers were not Contras who went into dealing to support them.....they were dealers sympathetic to their cause who kept most of the money they made. That's an important distinction. Most provable estimates of what they gave the Contras was around 50-100 thousand dollars.

-Ross and Blandon had more money than the United States gave the Contras total (we are talking in the hundreds of millions). So if the Contras were running on drug money, why did the war grind to a halt once the USA cut off aid? Furthermore, why even bother with the Contra aspect of Iran-Contra (which got them maybe 2 million from the diversions of the arms sales to Iran) when all that coke money was supposedly out there?

-The movie also depicts (some would say "fabricates" is a more accurate term) a number instances of personal harassment (and contact) of Webb by the government and its agencies. Before he even writes the story, some "agents"/"a few guys from D.C." meet with him and try to warn him off and also make a implied threat against his family. Ray Liota plays a CIA agent who sneaks into Webb's hotel room in the middle of the night to tell him he is right. And finally, Webb fires a warning shot at a guy hanging around his car at night. Following that, some unidentified people start going through Webb's files while he is talking to the police. To my knowledge, even Webb didn't claim ANY of these events happened. I think the closest thing to this was the fact Webb once shot a would-be car thief who came at him. But this was in Kentucky and years before he came across the Dark Alliance story.

-Webb did not endorse the wild conspiracy theories put forth by a lot of people like Maxine Waters. But he didn't distance himself from these people either. So that didn't help his cause.

-At the end of the film, a number of misleading statements appear on the screen. For one, it mentions the the Director of the CIA's appearance in a "town hall" type meeting with the citizens of south central Los Angeles, and that the director left the CIA a month later. That leaves the impression Deutch left the CIA because of the Dark Alliance series. Deutch was actually forced out because the Clinton administration was upset with his testimony to Congress on Iraq. A statement is also made that the CIA released a report that acknowledged the fact they "...associated with members of the Contra movement who engaged in drug trafficking." True. But just not the ones Webb wrote about. The mentioned report specifically denies that the agency ever had any contact with Ross, Blandon, or Meneses. Furthermore, that report (and the unmentioned DOJ report), far from being a vindication for the Dark Alliance series, blew a great many holes in the story. And finally, Webb's two shot suicide is mentioned. The movie states it was "ruled" a suicide. But there is little doubt. Webb had made arrangements for his cremation (as well as other things), and even his own family does not doubt it was a suicide based on his actions before hand. (Nick Schou covers this in 'Kill The Messenger'. In a way, it was kind of good this aspect of Webb's life was omitted from the film because it made for some depressing reading.)

So a good movie.....but pretty flimsy history.

Reviewed by krocheav 9 / 10

Kill The Messenger asks: When Does Truth Become a Lie?

What happened to this powerful movie in its initial release? Why do film production and distribution companies choose to be involved with important works such as this - then fail to back it up with adequate support? The Focus company almost seem to have caved into demands (and/or threats?) in a similar way newspapers may also do when they fail to support their own investigative journalists. In murky cases like this finding clear truths will never be easy but someone has to bring shocking situations to public attention. Perhaps too often this could be America fighting America or C.I.A. against Congress, and so forth! If the C.I.A. had any involvement with introducing the crack cocaine trade into Los Angeles to fund Nicaraguan rebels - then of course it needs to be investigated.

Why did the distributors virtually seem to 'Kill the Messenger' by failing in their all important advance promotions? Some TV promotional advertisements apparently began to air after most cinemas had stopped running the picture! If you have a story dealing with something as important as an honest man putting his life in jeopardy to expose a gross injustice (especially if it may involve top law enforcement agencies) then everyone who seeks truth, needs to be fully supportive. Sadly, seems this may not always be so when it comes to exposing certain possibly corrupt government institutions.

Thank heavens for those members of the public who campaigned the distributor to have this powerful work finally reissued. 'Messenger' is one of the better compelling studies of the pressures that investigative journalists and seekers of justice invariably face while covering controversial issues. Pity there aren't more productions of this caliber. The film is well made, intelligently scripted, features strong performances, and committed production values. The atmospheric score helps add appropriate moodiness. The last caption in the movie also indirectly questions the coroners ruling on the cause of death for Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb, as being:- Suicide from multiple gunshot wounds to the head......

Recommended to any viewer who wants to see the good fight fought and truth (wherever possible) treated as paramount to all ends. Don't miss this one.

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