Film Review: ‘Truth’ Exposes the Obstacles in Modern Journalism

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CHICAGO – One of the indications of how the story depicted in “Truth” still resonates was that the CBS Network refused to show advertising for it. The film is a lesson in messing with true power – CBS News went after the ruthless Bush administration during an election year, and they went down.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This is a story told from the side of Mary Mapes, a news producer for “60 Minutes II.” In 2004, she received a document that supposedly proved that a younger George W. Bush went AWOL from his National Guard service during the Vietnam War era. Relying on a few sources, and some signature and document experts, the show broadcast the story through CBS News anchor Dan Rather. What happened next is indicative of modern journalism, and messing with power. The story was called out as false on the internet – based on the damning document itself – and the production staff fell like a house of cards. The film – adapted by James Vanderbilt in his director debut – is a tense overview of the situation, performed with precision from an excellent cast, and a reminder of ‘what does the truth mean?’

Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) is a hard-charging news producer for “60 Minutes II,” the spin-off from the original CBS show that aired from 1999-2005. In September of 2004, while researching a story regarding President George W. Bush’s National Guard service, Mapes received a document from Bill Burkett (Stacy Keach) which outlined Bush’s possible AWOL from the Guard, and was signed by his commanding officer, who was deceased.

This smoking gun document got Dan Rather (Robert Redford) involved, and was investigated by the “60 Minutes II” news team (portrayed by Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss). After the story and document were broadcast, a right wing blogger noticed discrepancies regarding the typeface on the supposed 1970s-era document, and the story suddenly was being discredited over the rest of the media. CBS News President Andrew Heyward (Bruce Greenwood) called for an investigation, and heads started to roll.

”Truth” is now in select theaters. See listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Moss and Stacy Keach. Screenplay adapted and directed by James Vanderbilt. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Truth”

Robert Redford
Robert Redford is Dan Rather in ‘Truth’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classic

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Truth”

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