Film - Truth


Steve Taylor-Bryant goes to the news for some Truth. At least he thinks it is the truth as he watches Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett take on President Bush...

Mary Mapes: Do you know what it would take to fake these memos?

Dick Hibey: Mary...

Mary Mapes: No, this is important. It would require the forger to have an in-depth knowledge of the 1971 Air Force manual, including rules and regulations and abbreviations. He would have to know Bush's official record front to back to make sure none of these memos conflicted with it. He would have to know all of the players in the Texas Air National Guard at the time, not just their names, but their attitudes, their opinions including how they related to one another. He would have to know that Colonel Killian kept personal memos like this for himself in the first place. He would have to know how Killian felt at the time particularly about his superiors and then First Lieutenant Bush. He would have to know or learn all of this in order to fool us as you assume he did. Now... Do you really think that a man who takes this kind of time and precision, then goes and types these up on Microsoft Word?

[Small pause]

Mary Mapes: Our story was about whether Bush fulfilled his service. Nobody wants to talk about that. They wanna talk about fonts and forgeries and conspiracy theories, because that's what people do these days if they don't like a story. They point and scream. They question your politics, your objectivity, hell, your basic humanity. And they hope to God the truth gets lost in the scrum. And when it is finally over and they have kicked and shouted so loud, we can't even remember what the point was.

We aren't as familiar here in the United Kingdom with American journalists as maybe we should be and if you asked the average person on the street what 60 Minutes was they would respond that it was the running time of Pebble Mill at One or some such answer. For those of us that do follow American journalism, and thank goodness for the digital age making it better, then Dan Rather is a name we all know well. Truth is another film on how journalism works, from conception of a story, through research and the burden of evidence, to its debut to an expectant audience. The Newsroom by Aaron Sorkin is a stunning television version, Spotlight is in an incredible take on the print version of news, and yet Truth didn't seem to garner the same level of marketing and promotion and I can't get my head around why.

Controversy surrounds CBS anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) after the network broadcasts a report about President George W. Bush and his military service.

Robert Redford as CBS golden anchor Dan Rather is as dependent and great as you'd expect but despite sharing half the poster and equal billing with Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes he isn't in it all that much which allows the backroom team of characters to come to the fore. Blanchett as Mapes is highly watchable. The passion for the story comes across really well and as the news piece starts to get attacked and sources all change their stories Blanchett shows a range of emotions and reactions that not many could carry off as well. Dennis Quaid as Lt. Colonel Roger Charles brings an authority to the screen and into the news team and is highly believable as both a journalist and a retired military man. Two highlight performances from the deeper cast for me though go to Elisabeth Moss (the presidents daughter in The West Wing) as Lucy Scott who just brightens up the screen when she is on, and Stacey Keach (False Identity) as the source of the "Killian Papers" Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett who changes his story amidst the public fallout over the stories authenticity.

Truth isn't up there with All The Presidents Men but how many journalism films are? It does however show a fantastic cast, a great story and more insight into how media works.

Image/quotes/synopsis - IMDb.

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