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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
3,067 ( 462)
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 ... 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 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:

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To get at the true story while also firmly placing it in a narrative context, screenwriter Peter Landesman had contacted source author Nick Schou before the latter's book was even published. Landesman began work on the script in 2006, culling material from the film's two source books, but also from his own research. Landesman recounted: "I was an investigative journalist for The New York Times Magazine for many years, and I came to realize that there are some stories that are simply just too true to tell; Gary Webb wanted to do his job and expose a corruption the government didn't want exposed, and the public, ultimately, was uncomfortable knowing. "This screenplay became a personal mission for me. Gary's not succumbing to personal and professional pressure to walk away from what he'd discovered, and the price he paid for holding his ground, is a cautionary tale among professional investigative reporters. Also, I had a similar experience with a 2005 Times Magazine cover story on sex trafficking and slavery that caused a similar firestorm. The difference was that the story, and I, were ultimately vindicated. Gary was a heroic, complicated, flawed man I could relate and connect to. His story needed to be a movie." Schou remarked: "As a former journalist, Peter had his own sources who could weigh in on all of this. But I made myself available to him to answer any questions he had about things I published, and things I hadn't published." See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the film, it is dated as 1996. Later, when Gary is washing his motorcycle in the parking lot of the apartment complex, the tags on his bike show Oct '95. 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 ...
[...]
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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

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
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User Reviews

 
Gripping and Important
13 October 2014 | by clg238See all my reviews

"Kill the Messenger" is both a very gripping film and an important film. Even though I know what our government was up to in those days (as if things have changed), I could hardly breathe, anticipating what would come next in the movie. My only concern about the film is the speculation that those who are ignorant of what occurred in those days would grasp that the money from drug sales went to buy weapons (it was almost glossed over). The acting in this film is superb, with one exception (the person who played Coral Baca--way overdone and not convincing). Knowing that the film is based on true events gives it amazing heft. I think it's an unforgettable portrayal of how our government can go astray--it's history but also a warning for those of us who have been demoralized by the current state of politics and who tend to trust certain names in the media. The film should be required viewing by every member of Congress, by every high school student, by those who call themselves journalists.


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