CYA: cover your ass
Kino, Wednesday 9 December 2015, 6:45pm
Running time: 125m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Coarse language)
Release date: 03/12/15
Cost: $11 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4/5)
Truth follows news producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) as she and respected reporter Dan Rather (Robert Redford) prepare a report for 60 Minutes detailing discrepancies in George W Bush’s military service and asserting that he exploited family connections to actually avoid service in the National Guard. The authenticity of key documents and information provided by various players, including Lt Colonel Bill Burkett (Stacey Keach) are questioned but a need to meet production deadlines results in a relaxation of verification processes in the interests of airing a huge political scoop. The work of Mapes and Rather, as well as their crack investigative team (Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss) is put under the microscope as Bush supporters attack their credibility from every angle.
Truth reveals the inner machinations of a television network under fire. Cate Blanchett is great as the bold and tireless Mapes, bringing a depth to the determined and feisty yet vulnerable character. Robert Redford is more subdued as the respected journalist who is the face of the report driven by Mapes. Redford's Rather also doubles as the caring father figure that has long been absent from Mapes’ life and the chemistry between the screen legends provides the heart and soul of a film that, at times, gets overwhelmed by the details of the investigation. The ensemble work well together as the severity of the mistakes that have been made becomes evident to all. Australian audiences will be pleased to see a large number of local actors engaged in the film, including Andrew McFarlane (Mapes’ lawyer Dick Hibey) Rachael Blake and Natalie Saleeba (CBS executives) and Noni Hazelhurst (long suffering and fearful wife of Lt Colonel Burkett) along with appearances by Philip Quast, Steve Bastoni, Christopher Stollery and Martin Sacks. With so many Australians on screen it wouldn't have surprised me if Brian Wenzel and Lorrae Desmond had popped up in a scene or two. On a personal note, it was exciting to see my school friend Jo Turner appear (albeit briefly) as Brigadier General Mark Kimitt. Shot in Sydney, it was interesting to see frequent utilisation of familiar landmarks such as the city’s Martin Place for various location shoots.
Truth is a compelling film and the story is well told with many excellent performances. It's a highly watchable and engaging story as it explores the power of political machinations and the pressures placed on those in the media to provide the next big story. (DP)