Written by / 10/12/2014 / No comments / , , ,

JEREMY RENNER IN KILL THE MESSENGER

2014 rating: **
Jeremy Renner is the kind of actor who takes his job seriously, playing each character with gusto. And in the role of real life reporter Gary Webb, he’s downright shot out of a cannon. In fact you’d think he was a bulletproof paratrooper who just happened to write for a living…

What this movie's about is loaded up front, and this particular “Deep Throat” gives Webb the lead of a lifetime about five minutes in. A possible scoop that, during the 1980’s, the Reagan-Era CIA funded weapons in Nicaragua by having drug dealers sell crack cocaine in downtown Los Angeles.

Unlike ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, we don’t learn things slowly and meticulously. Instead, after everything’s been served up on a silver hot plate, there’s a collection of scenes where Webb gets loads of useful information from drug dealers, ex CIA agents and politicians, collaborating what we’ve already learned – deleting any worthy suspense or intrigue along the way.

There is an attempt for mainstream movie thrills when shadowy forms begin stalking Webb at his home and work. Not surprisingly, that’s when Renner seems the most comfortable: gun in hand and with bulging eyes, flexed muscles, a speedy motorcycle and the countenance of a feisty badger, he's not gonna take it anymore!

The first half, although somewhat well-crafted, is too slanted and, for a story about a reporter, downright easy. It would have made Webb’s journey more engrossing had he come up against people not itching to "confess" so quickly, and clearly. His brand of journalism is hardly investigative. Thus the last act falls apart at the seams: When his bosses scold him for not having his informants go “on the record” instead of private conversations, it's as if they were suggesting he wait around for a better end to his story. Ironically, the movie needed one too.
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