Kill The Messenger – movie review

Kill The Messenger tells the story of an American hero most people have never heard of. Gary Webb was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News when in 1996 he wrote a story that would shock Washington D.C.  He showed that the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, which the Regan administration had been supporting, were making millions of dollars smuggling  cocaine into the United States.  The story went on to report that the Central Intelligence Agency had been aware that the Contras were shipping drugs to the U.S. and did nothing to try to stop it. In some cases, the CIA actually protected drug smugglers when they got caught.

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Gary Webb

This was the biggest story since Woodward and Bernstein reported on the Watergate scandal. However, the San Jose Mercury News was not the Washington Post. When the story broke the CIA and Washington insiders began putting tremendous pressure on the paper to retract the story. They delved into the personal background of Webb and released every embarrassing detail they could find.

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The worst part is that the San Jose Mercury News did not stand by its man. The paper distanced itself from Gary Webb and let this already high strung individual take all the heat personally.

This is a great movie with excellent acting. Jeremy Renner is perfect as Gary Webb. He shows the conflicted emotions of a man trying to do the right thing, but at the same time protect his reputation and his family. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Susan Webb, who loves her husband, but sees the pressure from the story tearing the family apart.

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Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Anna Simons, Gary Webb’s young editor. She wants to be a good editor and protect her reporter, but at the same time she knows that this small newspaper does not have the resources to fight the U.S. Government.

We highly recommend this film. It shows how true courage often goes unappreciated and unnoticed.

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