Kill the Messenger

Kill the Messenger

(Michael Cuesta, 2014)

Rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

An excellent Jeremy Renner and a galaxy of co-stars grant murky CIA conspiracy thriller 'Kill the Messenger' the kind of soap box it demands. Riveting, even if it runs out of steam just before the finish.

Before Jeremy Renner played tenth fiddle in the Marvel universe as one of the (more overlooked) Avengers, he flexed his considerable acting muscle in thrillers like this. It's good to have him back.

'Kill the Messenger' is a gripping fact-based drama about a reporter (Renner as Gary Webb) whose role in exposing CIA corruption regarding the drugs and arms trade sees him targeted on his own turf, destroying his life and reputation.

It's heavy stuff, but Renner's gift is finding the balance between the dark and light, injecting his charm into a straight story. Renner is the kind of actor who can breathe life into just about anything. Here he gives swagger to an 'All the President's Men' style drama.

And he's not alone. The film's cast is outstanding: Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff and Robert Patrick all add familiar flesh and bones to a rogues' gallery of shady characters. The story itself is enough to grab your attention but the sheer amount of star power electrifies it.

But then something unfortunate happens - the script leaks fuel and lamely pulls up to the finish line. A title card conclusion leaves you gasping when it should've been a handful of decent scenes for Renner to populate. Nevertheless, this important story is told well but a bounty of fine character actors.

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