Kill the Messenger (2014)

Director: Michael Cuesta
Writers: Peter Landesman, Gary Webb (book), Nick Scho (book “Kill the Messenger”)
Stars:  Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt
Running Time: 112 mins.

In the 1996 journalist Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News, a small town newspaper compared to the big guns like the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, exposed the fact that the CIA had in the previous decade imported massive amounts of cocaine into the U.S. to raise money for the Nicaraguan rebels called contras, fighting to oust the Sandinista government.  The cocaine in turn flooded into American communities, Los Angeles in particular, and our government escalated it’s convoluted “War on Drugs”, mostly arresting low level users while protecting inner city drug dealers and cartel informants.  

“Kill the Messenger” with Jeremy Renner in a very solid performance as Gary Webb trying to nail “The” big story of his life, plays out like a riveting detective drama with Webb meticulously piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of the CIA’s machinations to hide and deflect its past actions from public scrutiny while juggling family life the best he can.

Webb’s published series “Dark Alliance” is a personal triumph for him, his family and the San Jose Mercury News for about a week before he’s taken down by a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA.  The paper retreats from its support and other news media treat him like a leper.  

Lotta says this film is well acted and exposes important forgotten facts in our history.  Not to be missed.  Terrific performance by Renner and Rosemarie DeWitt playing his concerned and supportive wife.  Oliver Platt plays the newspaper’s general manager Jerry Ceppos while Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays his editor Anna Simons.