7.0/10
38,792
109 user 162 critic

Kill the Messenger (2014)

Trailer
2:19 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime 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
2,323 ( 1,419)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Gary Webb
... Ronald J. Quail
... Quail's Girlfriend
... L.A. Sheriff
... DEA Agent
... Bob
... Anna Simons
... Ian Webb
... Sue Webb
... Eric Webb
Parker Douglas ... Christine Webb
Kai Schmoll ... Sacramento Journalist
... Rich Kline (as Josh Close)
... Coral Baca
... 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:

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Site | Production Notes |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 October 2014 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Secret d'état  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

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

When Gary punches his car window in frustration of having his motorbike stolen, the family of 3 spectators on the pool deck assume a position of standing still, close together, and stare at Gary. When Gary yells, "What are you looking at?" they begin to walk away. About 5 seconds later they are back in their earlier pose/location. Even their arm positions are the same. 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

Ritmo Del Sol
Written and Performed by Enzo Villaparedes
Courtesy of LMS Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
National Security and Crack Cocaine
12 October 2014 | by See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. This is one of those true stories that probably works better as a drama than as a documentary. Jeremy Renner brings passion and believability to his role as infamous journalist Gary Webb. This allows us to gain insight into Mr. Webb as a father, husband and man, rather than only as a fiery investigative reporter.

You likely recall Webb's published story from 1996, when his research uncovered the likelihood that cocaine imported into the US was being sold as crack cocaine and the profits were going towards funding arms for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The kicker being that the CIA was well aware of these activities.

The film presents Webb as an idealist, too naive to comprehend that the story would have ramifications to his employer, his family and his self. The use of actual news footage adds a dose of reality, as does the mention of Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, John Kerry ... and even the role Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky played in outshining the ultimate acknowledgment of Webb's work.

The underlying message here ... beyond the governmental cover-up ... is the lack of a true free press. Of course, this issue remains front and center today, but in this particular instance, it's surprising to see the influence and pressure applied by outside forces. It's further proof that any hope for checks and balances from our news outlets was snuffed out many years ago.

The movie is based on two books: Gary Webb's own "Dark Alliance" and Nick Shou's "Kill the Messenger". The frustration as a viewer is derived from the fragmented presentation brought on by steady stream of new characters who mostly only appear in one or maybe two scenes. The list of known actors is impressive: Rosemary DeWitt, Oliver Platt, Robert Patrick, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Sheen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Paz Vega, Barry Pepper, Michael Kenneth Williams, Andy Garcia, Gil Bellows, Lucas Hedges, Richard Schiff, and Ray Liotta. That should help explain what I mean by fragmented.

The story is an important one and the film is worth seeing. It's impossible to not think of All the President's Men while watching. The Grandaddy of crusading journalism continues to produce heirs ... even those that are a black eye for the newspaper industry and our government.


36 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 109 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial