Kill the Messenger

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Kill the Messenger

Michael Cuesta (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
In 1996, "small-time" journalist Gary Webb wrote a number of pieces implicating the CIA in a crack epidemic affecting inner-city Los Angeles. Drawing a direct link between the US government and the Contras seeking to unseat Nicaragua's Sandinista government, Webb claimed that the rebels were being bankrolled by the unfettered selling of cocaine into South Central LA. Those reports provide the basis for this conspiracy thriller akin to All the President's Men in theme if not impact. In his best performance since The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner fires on all cylinders as Webb, a man searching for truth, and perhaps glory. But as Webb starts being systematically discredited by shadowy forces, the film's shift from the political to the personal makes for an uneven ride, though support from Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper and Tim Blake Nelson helps to thicken the mood. Director Michael Cuesta (TV's Homeland) might have done better sticking closer to Webb's investigative journalism, which indicted both foreign policy and the scandal of domestic social cleansing. Still, some food for thought is better than none.


A journalist is driven to the brink of suicide by a smear campaign after he attempts to expose the CIA's alleged involvement with Contra rebels in Nicaragua and the importing of cocaine into California. Fact-based drama set during the 1990s, starring Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Ray Liotta.

Cast & Crew

Gary Webb Jeremy Renner
Sue Webb Rosemarie DeWitt
John Cullen Ray Liotta
Alan Fenster Tim Blake Nelson
Russell Dodson Barry Pepper
Jerry Ceppos Oliver Platt
Fred Weil Michael Sheen
Coral Baca Paz Vega
"Freeway" Ricky Ross Michael Kenneth Williams
Anna Simons Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Norwin Meneses Andy Garcia
Director Michael Cuesta
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: UniversalGuidance: Swearing, drug abuse, drug references.Released on: 6 Mar 2015