Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush's military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.
The story of The Killian Documents controversy (a.k.a. "Rathergate") in the days leading up to the 2004 presidential election. When veteran newscaster Dan Rather and CBS News head Mary Mapes choose to air a segment on 60 Minutes exposing how President Bush avoided being drafted to Vietnam through his father's political advantages, the resulting fallout ultimately costs them their jobs and reputations.Written by
Toward the end of the film, when Mary Mapes is talking on the phone to Dan Rather, she is leaning against a bookcase in her home. On the shelf, you can see the autobiography of legendary Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee, called "A Good Life". Bradlee was editor when the Post exposed the Watergate scandal. As in this movie, he had to manage a media disaster when it was discovered that Post writer Janet Cooke fabricated a story about a young drug addict, which won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize. Once the truth came out, the Post returned the prize. See more »
The list of potential corroborators for the documents includes a Lieutenant Colonel, which is abbreviated on the board as "LT CNL". The proper abbreviation of this rank is "LTC" for officers of the U.S. Army, "LtCol" for the Marine Corps, and "Lt.Col." for the Air Force; the most common abbreviation for colonel is "Col." See more »
Do you know what it would take to fake these memos?
No, this is important. It would require the forger to have an in-depth knowledge of the 1971 Air Force manual, including rules and regulations and abbreviations. He would have to know Bush's official record front to back to make sure none of these memos conflicted with it. He would have to know all of the players in the Texas Air National Guard at the time, not just their names, but their attitudes, their opinions including how they ...
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William Devane as The voice of Gen. Hodges on the telephone is not listed in the cast. See more »
The suspension of disbelief is the most important part of making a good movie. In order for a film to effectively tell its story, it must first convince the audience to buy into its world – a feat that requires a great deal of persuasion. If the film's case isn't very thorough, if any one piece of the film is less convincing than the rest, the audience will see right through the curtain, ruining the illusion of reality. This suspension of disbelief is something that "Truth", the latest work from Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, struggles with.
"Truth" tells the true story of the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report that put President George W. Bush's military record under scrutiny, which was followed by a maelstrom of criticism that ended the careers of producer Mary Mapes (played by Blanchett) and anchor Dan Rathers (played by Redford).
As counterintuitive as it may be, "Truth" struggles with believability precisely because it's based on a true story. As the viewer, I know going in that the events I'm about to observe actually happened, and so I automatically have a higher standard for realism. Through the first half of the film, this standard isn't met. Characters jump into jargon-filled conversations about the news business that seem completely contrived, serving only as a way to force the plot to move along by establishing context. But the film never takes time to establish the characters themselves as actual people, so instead of buying into what the film has to offer, I just see a bunch of actors playing pretend.
But, as I said, this problem is firmly rooted in the first half of the film. By the latter half, the actors, namely Blanchett, have done the heavy lifting and have justified at least most of the premise. This is due in no small part to a handful of scenes that, with the help of some great dialogue and performances, are genuinely riveting. Up against the ropes, Mapes goes on tirade after tirade about the corrupt state of the government and the news business in general, and she makes some excellent, insightful points.
It's at this stage that the film is its most engaging. Once the conflict has reached a fever pitch, we as the audience get a glimpse into the different schools of journalistic philosophy and their prevalence in the industry at the time. It's just getting to this point of interest that the film has a hard time with.
This struggle can most easily be attributed to the fact that this is the first feature film for director James Vanderbilt. Although an accomplished writer, Vanderbilt has yet to fully mature as a visual storyteller, and so much of the exposition in his film comes off as artificial. But when working with talent like Blanchett and Redford, this problem eventually solves itself. Because of Blanchett's reign as arguably the most gifted actress working today, and also with consideration to Redford's timeless charm, Vanderbilt's story comes together by the time the credits roll.
By that time, the audience is left with a reasonably thorough portrayal of one of the bigger news scandals of the 2000's. It isn't as resonant as other dramas of recent memory and likely won't provide any of its cast with nominations at the Academy Awards, but at the very least, "Truth" has provided the public with precisely what it intended to: the truth.
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