7.0/10
37,166
105 user 161 critic

Kill the Messenger (2014)

Trailer
2:19 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA's past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

, (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,348 ( 100)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Quail's Girlfriend
...
L.A. Sheriff
...
DEA Agent
...
Bob
...
...
...
...
Eric Webb
Parker Douglas ...
Christine Webb
Kai Schmoll ...
Sacramento Journalist
...
Rich Kline (as Josh Close)
...
...
Rafael Cornejo
Edit

Storyline

Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA's past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras' rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series "Dark Alliance". As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life. Written by Milena Joy Morris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a true story that needs to be told. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 October 2014 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Secret d'état  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$941,809, 10 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,450,846, 27 January 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

| (archive footage)| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This major motion picture's opening title card states: "CALIFORNIA 1996". See more »

Goofs

In 1995, the red Jeep used to inspect the airfield, would have had square headlights. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richard Nixon: Public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.
Gerald Ford: For nearly a year, I have been devoting increasing attention to a problem which strikes at the very heart of our national well-being: Drug abuse.
Jimmy Carter: I did not condone any drug abuse, and we'll do everything possible to reduce this serious threat to our society.
Ronald Reagan: Drugs are menacing our society. They're threatening our values and ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just before the closing credits, there is a short video showing the real Gary Webb at home with his children. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kill the Messenger: The All-Star Cast (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Bloodhounds On My Trail
Written by Stephanie Bailey, Geary Christian Bland, Kyle Hunt, Alex Maas, Jennifer Raines and Nathaniel Ryan
Performed by The Black Angels
Courtesy of Light In The Attic Records and Distribution, LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
An Explosive Exposé Important Enough To Suppress
17 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

The longer I cogitate on Michael Cuesta's KILL THE MESSENGER, the more I realise just how unobtrusively compelling this film truly is.

Inspired by the life of Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) and his 'Dark Alliance' exposé on the explosion of crack cocaine in the United States (which inevitably ruined his career), the film draws attention to the power and reach of fourth and fifth estate journalism and to the subjective objectivism of its gatekeepers.

Having said all that, if you take the time to reach beyond this controversial surface story and embrace Sean Bobbitt's intimate framing and selective foci, you'll discover Gary; a doggedly passionate and humanly flawed individual whose good intention to report a story 'just too true to tell' results in an overwhelmingly biased and unfair challenge on his credibility and integrity with devastating consequences.

Renner's (THE HURT LOCK, THE BOURNE LEGACY) performance is captivating in its subtlety; allowing momentary characters including Norwin Meneses (Andy Garcia), Fred Weil (Michael Sheen) and Jerry Ceppos (Oliver Platt) to drive the story's factual elements in a similar manner experienced by Webb. The use of medium and close-up shots and oscillating lighting gives you a bird's eye view to Renner's struggles as the voraciously shocking professional and personal smear campaign takes its toll. Renner becomes more unashamedly haggard with dwindling moments of indignation on screen at each roadblock. It may also explain why Cuesta opted to gloss over the pivotal points of this sad story and tie it up in Webb's panegyric acceptance speech and closing title card.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this film and would recommend that you take some time out to see it. Sure it has its flaws –but so does Gary Webb and the story itself - but that's why it works. As Webb said on reflection 'The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress'.

You can catch me at my handle and at The Hollywood News.


24 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 105 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

What Is Katee Sackhoff Watching?

Katee Sackhoff shares her Watchlist and love for the CW drama "Reign" with "The IMDb Show." Plus, we take a look at the top 10 TV Shows of 2017.

Watch now