Release Date: October 30th 2015
Director: James Vanderbilt
Writers: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Mary Mapes (book)
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace
Rating: Rated R for language and a brief nude photo
Runtime: 125 min
On the morning of September 9, 2004, veteran CBS News producer MARY MAPES (Cate Blanchett) believed she had every reason to feel proud of a broadcast journalism job well done. By the end of the day, Mapes, CBS News, and the venerable CBS News anchor DAN RATHER (Robert Redford) would be under harsh scrutiny.
I have to admit, I love being a part of the TV generation. As much as I enjoy books, it’s the stuff on-screen that really makes me giddy. Giddy enthusiasm is what I felt when I learned that I was going to get to review Truth this week. With busy parents and a big family, I spent a lot of time in front of the television growing-up. Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather were all heroes of mine. It was okay to mess around when entertainment television shows were on, but when the news shows came on, it was time to sit and listen. None of my three heroes anchor the nightly news anymore. Truth is an opportunity to watch the fictionalized events which lead to the non-fictionalized resignation of Dan Rather from the CBS Evening News.
Don’t misunderstand. The 60 Minutes scandal, or memo-gate as it came to be known, was very real. But, I’m not sure how much creative liberty was taken in the making of the film. And it doesn’t matter. Truth is a great movie. It’s a news caper of sorts. The audience gets to watch the blood and guts of the making of a news story, possibly the biggest news story of an election cycle. Everything is at stake. It’s both gory and fascinating. I couldn’t look away. The train was on the tracks, I could see the impending doom, and I had to watch.
As much as I enjoyed the film up to the train wreck, it is in the aftermath of the collision where the cast genuinely shines. I don’t know that I have ever seen Cate Blanchett (as Mary Mapes) better. I very much enjoyed her interactions with Robert Redford (as Dan Rather) and the rest of the stellar cast. I loved that Blanchett plays the role perfectly flawed, down to the smudged eye make-up. Robert Redford always shines. He plays Rather with a vulnerability that the audience wouldn’t expect from a tough newsman, and it works.
I appreciated the intended message of the film. Truth, justice, etc. All good things in which I believe. All things which tend to get lost in the internet era. The message gets somewhat muddled in clichés by the end of the film. Truth tries really hard to shift the blame for the train wreck, and that part only sometimes works. Anyone who watched Dan Rather’s reporting is going to have a hard time painting him as a victim. But, the message, in its simplest form, is a good one. Truth.
Make sure to catch this one in theaters. Don’t take my word on how great this movie is. See it for yourself whenTruth opens in theaters on October 30th.