Movie Reviews

Kill the Messenger

I love a good movie! While I tend to do a lot more reading than movie-watching (which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you), I really enjoy watching movies in the evenings. Since the start of quarantine/self-isolation, I’ve been watching a lot of old favorites, but I’ve also been inspired to watch some of the movies that I’ve owned for years but have never seen. One of these movies, which I had the opportunity to watch last night, is Kill the Messenger.

Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of an investigative journalist, Gary Webb, who uncovered one of the biggest stories in the U.S. when he found evidence of a connection between the CIA and drug trafficking.

“National security and crack cocaine in the same sentence? Does that not sound strange to you?”

Kill the Messenger (2014)

As Webb begins to dig deeper into the story, he is encouraged multiple times to stay away from it, and even told that “some stories are just too true to tell.” Undaunted, he presses forward with his article and investigation, only to find himself in danger of losing his job and his reputation as a journalist.

I found Kill the Messenger fascinating. The movie really shows the importance of solid investigative journalism. There were moments in the movie where other news agencies were talking about Webb’s article and their response was to question how their reporters missed out on such a big story. The movie shows what is possible when you follow the evidence, it shows the importance of digging for the truth and presenting it to the public, and it also shows some of the dangers faced by the people who do this for a living.

Jeremy Renner does a fantastic job of portraying Gary Webb. Not only does he accurately portray the tenacity that an investigative journalist needs to be effective, but he also shows a wide range of emotions throughout the film. Renner is one of very few actors that I can honestly say has caused to me feel the full range of human emotions in response to the characters he plays, and his portrayal of Webb in Kill the Messenger is no exception to this.

Because the events in this movie are based on a true story, I did a little digging of my own to see if I could find out more about Webb and his “Dark Alliance” articles. In the process of learning more about his life, I did discover that he published a book, also called Dark Alliance. I plan to get a copy as soon as possible, because the movie definitely made me want to learn more.

I highly recommend taking the time to see Kill the Messenger. It tells an amazing story, has phenomenal acting, and really makes you think. The movie is rated R, for language and drug content, and it definitely earns its rating (mostly because of the language). I think this movie will really appeal to those interested in journalism, or anyone who grew up during the 1980s and 90s and remembers the country’s “War on Drugs.”

If you do have the opportunity to see Kill the Messenger, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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