“Truth” is a 121 minute R Rated Biography/Drama directed by James Vanderbilt starring Cate Blanchett (Mary Mapes), Robert Redford (Dan Rather), Topher Grace (Mike Smith), Dennis Quaid (Lt. Col. Roger Charles) and Elisabeth Moss (Lucy Scott).
The movie is based on Mary Mapes’ 2005 book “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power”. It depicts the newsroom events which occurred in 2004 at CBS’ 60 Minutes regarding the airing of a segment questioning whether George W. Bush's connections got him into the National Guard to avoid Vietnam and subsequently covered- up for him when he supposedly went AWOL for a period of time. The so-called “Killian documents”, which were central to the report’s contention that Bush was granted preferential treatment, were later revealed to be most likely fraudulent. The firestorm of criticism resulted in the unexpected and abrupt retirement of CBS anchor Dan Rather and the firing of producer, Mary Mapes, who has not worked in television news since this “Rathergate”.
When I first heard about this movie, I was looking forward to a fact-based film about an important historic subject which I remembered from 14 years ago. But as I have come to discover with so many other “fact-based” movies, the elite Hollywood left confuses facts with many things that advance its liberal political agenda. “Truth” primarily focuses on three aspects: bashing George W. Bush at any/every opportunity; paying homage to the “God” of CBS, Dan Rather; engendering sympathy for a disgraced television producer who was fired for not, at the very least, vetting her sources and possibly being complicit in the cover-up. The latter is not surprising since the film is based on Mapes’ own book.
This movie is about a bad thing which they tried to make into a good thing which, by their own accounts, ended up being a worse thing. "Truth" clearly depicts a biased point- of- view and liberal agenda which is ironic considering the end result. The movie seeks to raise a conspiracy theory that the CBS brass wanted to protect powerful Republicans and tries to absolve the journalists for their shoddy work. There is overwhelming belief that the documents designed to hurt Bush’s chance for reelection were discredited and most likely forged which may have contributed to Bush winning the election. The movie has been widely assailed by reviewers and even CBS has criticized and refused to run ads for it.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/…/cbs-bans-ads-dan-rather-…
It has good casting/acting and if it was a screenplay adaptation of a novel, I might have enjoyed it. Blanchett delivers a good performance as the intense, driven, sometimes hysterical Mapes. Redford’s portrayal of Rather is stiff and wooden and while I would like to believe he is delivering a spot-on performance as the venerable news anchor, he has seemed this way in his two previous movies which were box office flops. All the other actors (especially Topher Grace) are phony, annoying and contrived, as is the dialogue. The movie is long at just over two hours and it drags in the middle.
One of the best things about the film is the non-biased information it presents about Rather’s professional career and the history of 60 Minutes. I did not know that 60 Minutes was the first TV news show ever to make money. It is also rewarding to look back to a time where journalists were still being held accountable for their mistakes and not using the defense, so often heard today, that it is a story that needed to be told regardless of whether or not it is true.
I suggest watching the actual 60 Minutes broadcasts and subsequent apologies by CBS if you are interested in learning the truth rather than relying on this movie which attempts to make heroes and martyrs out of disgraced journalists. It should be titled “Untruth”. I give “Truth” a 2.0 on the ABBONDANZOMETER (Scale of 1-10).