Kill the Messenger Crusading journalists in movies stand up to their editors, scream about ethics, slam down their phones, punch the photocopier, and beaver away for the truth.… Kill the Messenger Crusading journalists in movies stand up to their editors, scream about ethics, slam down their phones, punch the photocopier, and beaver away for the truth.… 2014-10-10 R PT112M Thriller Rosemarie DeWitt Ray Liotta Tim Blake Nelson Jeremy Renner Focus Features
Movie Review

Kill the Messenger (2014)

MPAA Rating: R
KILL THE MESSENGER Jeremy Renner
Image credit: Chuck Zlotnick
KILL THE MESSENGER Jeremy Renner
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Limited Release: Oct 10, 2014; Rated: R; Length: 112 Minutes; Genre: Thriller; With: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson and Jeremy Renner; Distributor: Focus Features

Crusading journalists in movies stand up to their editors, scream about ethics, slam down their phones, punch the photocopier, and beaver away for the truth. As irascible real-life reporter Gary Webb, Jeremy Renner checks all those boxes and more in the important but overdramatized Kill the Messenger. While working for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996, Webb pieced together a connection between the epidemic of crack cocaine on urban streets and the CIA. We discover the shocking evidence as he does — with assists from a rogues' gallery of good actors including Andy Garcia, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Tim Blake Nelson, and Ray Liotta — but the movie isn't really about the drug war. As its unsubtle title suggests, Kill the Messenger indicts the government and media outlets for a smear campaign to discredit Webb.

Director Michael Cuesta (Homeland) includes just enough real news footage among the heavily scripted scenes to make you crave a documentary on Webb instead. A bonkers statement such as ''There has never been a conspiracy in this country'' barked by an actual CIA big gun is more attention-grabbing than the schmaltz of Webb's wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) whining the platitude ''Can't you see what you're doing to us?'' The story of Webb is a tragedy — he died in 2004 of two gunshot wounds, which the coroner ruled a suicide — and the film is red with outrage. Justifiably. But by goosing the plot for dramatic effect and fitting a halo atop Webb's head, it reduces the man to something that he wasn't: a movie character. B-

Originally posted Oct 08, 2014 Published in issue #1325-1326 Aug 29, 2014 Order article reprints
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Weekend of Nov 16 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1.
Dumb and Dumber To
Universal
$38.1 1 $38.1 C-
2.
Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Pictures
$36.0 2 $111.7 B+
3.
Interstellar
Paramount
$29.2 2 $97.8 B-
4.
Beyond the Lights
Relativity
$6.5 1 $6.5 B+
5.
Gone Girl
Fox
$4.6 7 $152.7 A
6.
St. Vincent
Weinstein Co.
$4.0 6 $33.3 B
7.
Fury
Sony
$3.8 5 $75.9 C+
8.
Nightcrawler
Open Road
$3.0 3 $25.0 B+
9.
Ouija
Universal
$3.0 4 $48.1 C-
10.
Birdman
Fox Searchlight
$2.4 5 $11.6 A-
* in millions

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