6.9/10
43,761
132 user 170 critic

Kill the Messenger (2014)

Trailer
2:19 | Trailer
Journalist Gary Webb, California 1996, started investigating CIA's role in the 1980s in getting crack cocaine to the black part of LA to get money and weapons to the Contras/freedom fighters in Nicaragua.

Director:

Michael Cuesta

Writers:

Peter Landesman, Gary Webb (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,414 ( 183)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Renner ... Gary Webb
Robert Patrick ... Ronald J. Quail
Jena Sims ... Quail's Girlfriend
Robert Pralgo ... LA Sheriff
Hajji Golightly Hajji Golightly ... DEA Agent
Ted Huckabee ... Bob
Mary Elizabeth Winstead ... Anna Simons
Lucas Hedges ... Ian Webb
Rosemarie DeWitt ... Sue Webb
Matt Lintz ... Eric Webb
Parker Douglas Parker Douglas ... Christine Webb
Kai Schmoll Kai Schmoll ... Sacramento Journalist
Joshua Close ... Rich Kline (as Josh Close)
Paz Vega ... Coral Baca
Aaron Farb ... Rafael Cornejo
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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:

How the CIA's crack-cocaine controversy destroyed journalist Gary Webb See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the late 1980s, Gary Webb had returned with his family to his home state of California, joining the staff of the newspaper the San Jose Mercury News. Webb was already a respected journalist. Furthering his reputation at the latter paper, Webb was in 1990 one of six Mercury News reporters to win a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the Loma Prieta Earthquake. A few years later, in the summer of 1995, he received the phone message that would alter his life forever. The message was from a woman named Coral Baca. Webb had done a Mercury News story on the U.S.A Government's seizures of property from suspected drug dealers, and Baca had read the piece with considerable interest, since her boyfriend, Rafael Cornejo had been in prison for three years on cocaine-related charges. Webb, who chased down every lead and contact, returned the call and met with his unlikely source. Baca told Webb that Cornejo had never been tried but that the government had seized all of his physical property anyway. Webb didn't know what to make of her account until she told him that the government's chief witness against her boyfriend was a drug lord named Danilo Blandon, responsible for smuggling tons of cocaine into the U.S.A, and that she had documents to prove his affiliation with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). A year of intense investigation, both in the U.S.A and abroad, followed for Webb, who then broke the story which would eventually break him. Webb's August 1996 series of three articles for the Mercury News was entitled "Dark Alliance". The three pieces ran simultaneously in print and online, with unprecedented website supplements of videos and documents. Webb reported that drug traffickers working with the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras were importing massive amounts of cocaine into Los Angeles in California, USA where dealers flooded the streets during the crack epidemic, most damagingly in South Central L.A. The articles' bigger revelation was that profit from the drug sales was used to fund the Ronald Reagan White House supported Contra militia fighting a civil war in Nicaragua, which was in clear violation of the Boland Amendment prohibiting support of the war. See more »

Goofs

There are new (large face) $100 bills in the crack-selling montage. 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 undercutting...
[...]
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 »


Soundtracks

Nothing As It Seems
Written by Jeff Ament
Performed by Pearl Jam
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

 
Renner may not seem like much of an actor in 'THE AVENGERS' but in the right role he's fantastic!
27 October 2014 | by HellmantSee all my reviews

'KILL THE MESSENGER': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Dramatic thriller film telling the true story of journalist Gary Webb. It centers on Webb's efforts to expose the CIA's former involvement in importing cocaine into California, in order to raise funding for Nicaraguan Contra rebels. It was directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. The script is based on the book, of the same name, by Nick Schou and the novel 'Dark Allaince' by Webb himself. Jeremy Renner stars as Webb in the movie and also served as a producer. The film costars Rosemarie DeWitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Lucas Hedges, Barry Pepper, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Sheen, Paz Vega, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia and Michael K. Williams. It's a very fascinating and informative movie.

The film is set in the mid-1990s when Gary Webb first learned of the CIA's past involvement in importing large amounts of cocaine into the US. They did this in order to sell it in ghettos, primarily in California, in order to raise money for supporting Contra rebels in Nicaragua. He goes public with the story, in a series of articles called 'Dark Alliance' (which he later based his book on). As retaliation the CIA aggressively smeared Webb's name and harassed him and his family.

The film is really interesting and involving, from the opening scene almost till the last. It's fast paced and brilliantly directed, by Cuesta. Renner may not seem like much of an actor in 'THE AVENGERS' but in the right role he's fantastic; this is one of those roles. I'm a big fan of DeWitt, her part here is small but she's still powerful in it, and the rest of the cast is good as well. This is also a story I previously knew very little about, so for me it was very informative too. I definitely recommend it.

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site | Production Notes | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 2014 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

Kill the Messenger See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$941,809, 12 October 2014

Gross USA:

$2,450,846

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,218,973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color | Color (archive footage)| Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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