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Kill the Messenger (2014)

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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:

Michael Cuesta

Writers:

Peter Landesman, Gary Webb (book) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,141 ( 1,062)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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 ... L.A. 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:

Based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning 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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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site | Production Notes | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 2014 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

Secret d'état See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

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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 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Webb: The real Gary Webb) as himself, seen in archive footage at the end of the film. 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 Filming in Georgia (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Escape From Babylon
Written by Paris (as Oscar Jackson)
Performed by Paris
Courtesy of Guerrilla Funk Recordings and Filmworks, LLC
By arrangement with Shelly Bay Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kill The Messenger
4 October 2014 | by Palidan400See all my reviews

"National security and crack cocaine in the same sentence. Does that not sound strange to you?" Kill The Messenger dives into an intense and important, often forgotten, segment of history. That being said, as the title implies, the film ultimately centralizes around reporter Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) and what happens to him when he comes across this shocking discovery. With strong performances by the cast and a clear focus by the director, the film comes out shaky in a few parts but overall provides a riveting and respectful look at this man's life.

Jeremy Renner is the star of this story, and he performs excellently. Renner fully commits into becoming Webb. Besides decently looking like the real Webb physically, he captures a wide range of emotions that the man would have faced - from being a cool reporter to a struggling and scared husband and father. Some characters do not impress as much in their performances, but Renner is able to carry the lead role well enough to support the film.

The cinematography and visuals fit the tone of the film very well. Stylized heavily with its colors and the other external footage it uses, the film gives off an aged and exciting feel, similar to other movies from past decades. What ties it all together though is its clear focus. Director Michael Cuesta has a clear goal of what he wants the film to be about - Gary Webb. While not all the scenes succeed in contributing to that, the majority of it is cohesive enough to let audiences understand the characters without losing the intensity and action of the larger picture - the cocaine smuggling.

With its commendable technical aspects and the important subject it deals with, Kill The Messenger is definitely a film worth seeing. Jeremy Renner and the director together bring a lot to the film, and while it's not entirely superb, it gives a good two hours of entertainment that means something, especially today. RATING: [8/10]


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