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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 »
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 ... 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:

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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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Naomi Despres said: ""Gary Webb's story is so powerful. Here was a man driven to tell the truth even when forces much greater than himself did not want the truth to be told." See more »

Goofs

Immddiately after Webb's first meeting with Frank Wiel, there's a quick shot of an airport. The main aircraft in the shot, a 737, has winglets, which weren't used at the time of this story (mid-90s). 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

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

Soundtracks

Te Vi
Written by Joaquin Diaz
Performed by Jesus A. Perez-Alvarez
Courtesy of LMS Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
National Security and Crack Cocaine
12 October 2014 | by ferguson-6See 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.


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