REVIEW: KILL THE MESSENGER
A gutsy investigative journalist pursues the story of a lifetime in Focus Features' Kill the Messenger, a powerful dramatic thriller based on a remarkable true story, coming to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack including Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD with UltraViolet™ as well as DVD and On Demand on February 10, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD feature exclusive bonus content including deleted scenes, cast profiles, filmmaker commentary and more. Two-time Academy Award® nominee Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy) leads an all-star cast with Emmy Award winner Michael Cuesta (Homeland) directing. Kill the Messenger will also be available on Digital HD on January 27, 2015.
SYNOPSIS: Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb (portrayed by Jeremy Renner). In the 1990s, this dedicated reporter's quest for the truth took him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. – and his investigative reporting drew the kind of attention that threatened not just his career, but his family and his life. Webb himself becomes the story and a target, as jealous rival reporters who missed the story move to discredit his work and reputation in an increasingly vicious smear campaign. His wife Sue (Rosemarie DeWitt) tries to stand by him even as, despite warnings from drug kingpins and menacing surveillance intended to deter his investigation, Webb keeps digging to prove a direct link between cocaine smugglers and the CIA, a conspiracy with explosive implications.
me start by saying, this flick seems quite heavy and confusing
at times, especially in the first half. However, as we delve
deeper in this better than fiction supposed historical set
events, we get to understand how interesting this
story-within-a-story, really is.
On the other hand, I can imagine making movies with elements of
time loops are somewhat difficult because it takes foresight to
arrange it in such a way that audiences can follow; Hence, it is
quite understandable why director Michael Cuesta (Dexter TV
series) managed to fail in bringing us this story from the novel
(Webb's own "Dark Alliance"), in an interesting
theatrical form. In other words, this is essentially a great
story told that lacks great storytelling. I would dare to say
that it is easy to mistake a good story for good storytelling
and conclude that this is a good movie. The strength of this
flick is found only in the dense fabric of the story that
Journalist Webb brought us and how it focuses directly on the
core of the bigger story (Oliver North and The Contras, Cocaine,
and Covert Operations). If ever there were a film that could
benefit from extensive onscreen footnotes, "Kill the
Messenger" is one, yet Cuesta never dwells on the
particular strengths and flaws of Webb's
However, make no mistake, this pseudo-riveting thriller is a
Jeremy Renner vehicle, and the two-time Academy Award-nominee
(for The Hurt Locker and The Town) delivers another
Oscar-quality performance as a family man/respected writer who
slowly turned into a paranoid soul haunted by demons and hunted
by Machiavellian mercenaries drunk with power. This is certainly
his vehicle to recognition once again, in spite of the
slow-paced and drawn out sequences of this flick.
While Kill the Messenger is unable to be the emotional call to
action it aspires to be, its nonetheless a remarkable story with
solid performances and something to say thats worth saying. As
with All the Presidents Men and Good Night, and Good Luck before
it, Kill the Messenger belongs in the pantheon of
truth-in-journalism movies worth remembering. I enjoyed the
story immensely, but was on the fence with how the movie played
out. Better storytelling could have been applied here; hence,
unfortunately I found many of the sequences boring and
unsatisfactory. My personal feeling is that this would have made
a great documentary-for-the-record, with a strong narrator
explaining the historical facts. Its certainly not worth the
spending on the theater visit and would be best served with
three out of five stars for being a good story, but poorly
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, DTS
English SDH, Spanish, French
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Feature Commentary with Director Michael Cuesta
Deleted Scenes with commentary by director Michael Cuesta
Kill the Messenger: The All- Star Cast – Jeremy Renner leads an all-star cast in this dramatic thriller
Crack in America – A look at the story uncovered by Gary Webb
Filming in Georgia – Filmmakers discuss the benefits of filming in Georgia