Oct. 18, 2015

"Truth" Exposes CBS News Dark Side End of Rather Era

Review by Marc Platt

If you are a "Journalism Junkie" like myself, you would walk into the Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett star-driven "Truth" journalism biopic with cautious optimism. Let's face it, we KNOW that 24-year all star anchor Dan Rather was driven from his anchor seat by his corporate news bosses.

Most of us probably had forgotten the events of that 2004 George W. Bush v John Kerry "Swift Boating" election and CBS News's debunked coverage of "Dubya's" BS National Guard Service. This story is a small part of the total big picture in hindsight, since "44's" administration presided over a near depression, a housing crisis and two wars that cost America 4,500+ young men and women in two ill-fated wars.

This fantastic movie focuses on a '60 Minutes' segment that ultimately ended the careers of several creditable journalists.  Producer (and author of the book this is based on) Mary Mapes had the story correct about Bush's likely "AWOL" story during his 5-plus year national Guard service, but suffered humiliation when the "Process" of her story crumbled, bringing Dan Rather's storied career at CBS to an end after Bush's 2nd inauguration in January 2005.

This film is really a tale that focuses on the ever-increasing shift of "News v Corporate Money." That is the driving theme. The truth doesn't matter if it hurts the bottom line.

Redford, Blanchet, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss are the good guys in this story. They are pitted against their own bosses and let me tell you Bruce Greenwood, who plays Andrew Heywood the News Division President is great as the corporate villain in this film.

Kudos to director James Vanderbilt, who also adapted Mary Mapes book into a journalistic thriller screenplay. We kind of know what is going to happen to these people, but we get caught up in the integrity and the drama of the way it played out.

More kudos to Doug Mankoff, Brett Ratner and their fellow producers for getting this film made. 

I am a sucker for any film that speaks "Truth to Power" and that is exactly what is happening in this film. Blanchett and Redford are completely mesmerising and believable from the opening frames on.

I have always been a fan of Redford as an actor and as a director. What a pleasure to just see him JUST act in a film in 2015 after so many fantastic directorial projects.