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Kill the Messenger

Biography . Mystery . Drama . Crime . Thriller

A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.

Actors: Jena Sims , Tim Blake Nelson , Rosemarie DeWitt , Michael Kenneth Williams , Paz Vega , Andy García , Robert Patrick , Ray Liotta , Michael Sheen , Mary Elizabeth Winstead , Jeremy Renner , Robert Pralgo
Directors: Michael Cuesta
Country: USA
Release: 2014-10-09
More Info:
  • Andrew Barker

    The film taps into far deeper, richer veins of material than it has the time to properly mine. It’s nonetheless a flinty, brainy, continually engrossing work that straddles the lines between biopic, political thriller and journalistic cautionary tale, driven by Jeremy Renner’s most complete performance since The Hurt Locker.

    Variety Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    It hobbles its otherwise fascinating premise by descending into hagiography. Webb's story is a tragedy, to be sure, but portraying him as a saint and martyr does little to advance the truth.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    That the filmmakers are able to pursue their theme to the extent that the true story on which the film is based obliges them to somehow has to be credited to Renner. His performance is very good, despite the somewhat stereotypical bro characteristics with which the Webb character is here endowed. Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    What hits home is Renner’s performance, which gives full weight both to Webb’s fierce, abiding love for journalism and his despair when his livelihood – his reason for being – is trashed. It’s a tragedy, doubly so since the core of Webb’s allegations remains unchallenged today.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Jeremy Renner doesn’t put much movie-star mustard on his performance as a newspaper reporter in Kill the Messenger, and that’s one of the reasons the work is so strong.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    As suspenseful as any episode of Showtime's "Homeland," which director Michael Cuesta also executive-produced.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Kill the Messenger is compelling material but the recognition that the core of the narrative is based on true events gives it additional power.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    While the chronological details and social significance of the story Webb reported get shortchanged, Kill the Messenger is a vital reminder that a free press must be free to press the powerful for answers.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Renner’s performance — beginning with bluster and descending into twitchy paranoia — sells it and makes us fret for every “messenger” suddenly the target of the spotlight himself.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger made me so angry over the apparent injustice done to its journalist hero, Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), that I found it hard to remain in my seat.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    The visual choices in the movie, including all the close-ups of Gary’s face as it lightens and darkens, help create the sense that something deeply personal is at stake.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    [Renner's] outstanding as a man passionate about his work. His character is not perfect — just ask his wife and children — but he is certainly a good man trying to do good things.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    This pulpy, energetic film is a fast-moving and entertaining tale.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Denby

    Jeremy Renner is the main reason to see Kill the Messenger.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Renner appears completely immersed in his role and when the clouds of doubt accumulate and the man becomes a professional pariah, it's a painful thing to see.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Joe McGovern

    Director Michael Cuesta (Homeland) includes just enough real news footage among the heavily scripted scenes to make you crave a documentary on Webb instead.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    A resonant journalistic cautionary tale gets packaged as a hokey thriller in Kill the Messenger, a movie with a message that isn’t nearly as urgent as it needs to be.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    It’s an engrossing portrait not only of government intrigue and crusading after the truth, but of media and their tangled motivations. Engrossing enough, in fact, that Cuesta needn’t try as hard as he occasionally does to heighten the drama and give it added flash.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Despite the film’s heavy-handed effort at vindication, Renner manages to deliver a performance that is complex and satisfyingly contradictory.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • John Anderson

    If the screenplay to Kill the Messenger were a news story, any capable copydesk would have kicked it back to the reporter — not for a shortage of facts, but a lack of dramatic soul.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Matt Singer

    Kill The Messenger isn’t a great movie, but it’s a great vehicle for Renner, and a showcase for the kind of work he should be doing more regularly.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    It doesn't entirely engage, in part because it's so determined to correct the story that it can't let us explore it ourselves.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Seeing as how Kill the Messenger comes down firmly on the side of Webb’s truth, it’s unfortunate that his discoveries are only confirmed via the end credits. Missing from the action, too, is the merest hint of our hero’s demise by suicide in 2004. These aspects should have been better showcased; as is, it’s not the whole story.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    It’s a great story that lends itself to some striking scenes. Yet the film in total – if I may paraphrase Webb’s critics – has a number of holes.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Even as it celebrates the spirit of committed journalism that rises above the powerful forces designed to contain it, Kill the Messenger displays the same anesthetized quality that Webb's dedication to his job was meant to counteract. Renner is a different story.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Jesse Hassenger

    It’s an interesting approach to a fascinating story — yet it still can’t fully break free of its initial limitations.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    In his performance, Jeremy Renner hints at something dark stirring beneath Webb’s surface, but it never quite comes out, and we’re left with something more on the order of a rough-hewn saint. Kill the Messenger tells an interesting tale, but it’s caught in an odd zone between too-Hollywood and not Hollywood enough.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    The film devolves quickly into a pedestrian character study that basks in Gary Webb's public shaming and victimization, losing sight of the bravery and probing talent that characterized his writing.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    Kill The Messenger hopes to solemnly lionize and exonerate Webb, but rarely does it reflect anything back to its audience other than reminding us how corrupt and unprincipled our system is.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    The intent of the film, and its timeliness, are beyond reproach, but that doesn't make Kill the Messenger as stirring or inspiring of indignation as it clearly wants to be.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    The result is a film that is engrossing for stretches, that will raise your hackles -- and maybe the hair on the back of your neck -- especially if you believe in the vital role journalism plays in a free society. At the same time, though, it also feels a bit like a by-the-numbers affair.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    It’s a worthy effort, and Webb’s story is important. Nevertheless, Kill the Messenger feels extremely dated: In these cynical times, it’s too little, too late, which is too bad.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Kill the Messenger tries to be the “JFK” of crack, but offers only shrill self-righteousness to answer the crazed energy of Oliver Stone’s masterpiece of deceit.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Flaws aside, Kill the Messenger inspires a moral outrage that feels disconcertingly timely.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    Jeremy Renner is superb as a reporter ruined by his biggest story, but The Parallax View this isn't.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • William Goss

    Renner’s solid performance anchors a formidable ensemble in the type of well-intentioned docudrama more likely to leave your head shaking than your pulse pounding.

    Empire Full Review
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