Michael Cuesta who directed and produced hit television series like Dexter and Homeland, takes on the big screen with a crime drama. Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner is based on the true story of American investigative journalist – Gary Webb.
Kill the Messenger has got its elements in the right place. Drugs, national secrets, government, it’s got it all. However, the film lacks the emotional intensity of a biopic.
Set in 1995, the film traces the story of Gary Webb, a reporter of San Jose Mercury Times, who investigates a controversial case of the CIA’s role in the cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. Webb uncovers the dark secrets of the CIA who used the drug money to fund the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.
The Avenger star, Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb is engrossing. As a rugged investigative reporter, Renner creates an impressive character. He pulls off an incredible balance as a steadfast journalist and a doting father and husband. The scene where Gary gives his ‘Thank you’ speech at the award ceremony is provoking. The rest of cast also does a fine job. It’s surprising to see many good actors in cameo. Besides Jeremy Renner, most of the cast remains underused. It would have been fun to watch more of Andy Garcia as the detained drug smuggler, Norwin Meneses.
Kill the Messenger is a story worth telling. But, even though the film is brilliantly staged, the script feels slightly slanted and incomplete. At times, it focuses more on the personal life of Gary Webb, more than the actual case. The end might disappoint you.
Why should you watch the film?
If you are a fan of Jeremy Renner, don’t miss the film. He gives a fine performance as the staunch journalist, Gary Webb. Kill the Messenger is a vital story in the history of modern journalism and media ethics, that mustn’t be missed.