Kill the Messenger (USA, 2014)

kill_the_messengerDirected by: Michael Cuesta. I seem to be on a roll of journalism/ whistleblowing/ truth crusader against the shadowy forces of cover-ups streak, starting with The Insider, then Spotlight, now this. Happy coincidence! At the risk of being unfair in judging this film by other films (in principle not a fair thing, but in reality, films are not released in a vacuum and as thinking humans, it’s totally fair to relate one piece of art to another, don’t you think?), the short review for this reads like: this movie is like The Insider, but a touch…dumber? I know that sounds harsh, and I didn’t hate this movie or anything, but it just reads like so many other things I’ve seen before, not least JFK, and I don’t know…this movie just doesn’t have the scope of JFK, and it feels like it’s barking up that tree a bit too much to settle for middling production quality and middling character development. Don’t get me wrong, making movies is hard, etc, and this is a perfectly good film. It’s just not great. The dialogue is a bit dumb, the plot is all laid out step by step, in pretty broad strokes. Seeing this so soon after The Insider is like watching a James Bond movie right after reading The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. They have a great cast—Michael Kenneth Williams as Freeway Rick Ross is way too short on screen time because he’s so awesome, same with a great, over-qualified stint by Andy Garcia as the drug kingpin in jail, and a great little scene with Michael Sheen, the opening two minutes with Robert Patrick, Rosemarie DeWitt as the “supportive wife” really brings the role over and above the call of duty, turning a stock role into a real role for herself, and Ray Liotta is totally the perfect choice for the scary CIA dude who drops in at night for five minutes, his gravity and heft as a legendary actor put to way better use here than the last time I saw him (Killing Them Softly). So then, what’s my problem? I guess maybe I just have a prejudice against Jeremy Renner. Sorry! It’s nothing personal, I just think that, going by what I’ve seen, he’s a perfectly good actor but a little bit…trailer park. That’s terrible right? I have no defense. I’ve just always found him to be the Three Doors Down of leading actors, you know what I mean? And though he’s totally fine in this movie, and totally fine as Hawkeye in the Avengers movies, and he was totally fine in The Hurt Locker (which I didn’t really like overall, but he was okay in it), I guess I haven’t really seen him do anything as good as the first thing I saw him in, The Assassination of Jesse James, which was one of my favourite movies ever. And to be fair, Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck and the director Andrew Dominik haven’t done anything as good as The Assassination of Jesse James lately either—it’s an exceptional film with exceptional performances. So maybe I’ll just step off and not pick on poor Jeremy Renner. Although on the other hand, he’s a millionaire movie star, so who cares?

2 responses to “Kill the Messenger (USA, 2014)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Wind River (USA, 2017) | Offhand Reviews·

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