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Kill the Messenger's potent fury over the tale of its real-life subject overrides its factual inaccuracies and occasional narrative stumbles. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) happens upon a story that not only leads to the origins of America's crack epidemic but also alleges that the CIA was well-aware of the dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S. and using the profits to arm Nicaraguan rebels. Despite warnings to halt his investigation, Webb keeps digging and uncovers a conspiracy with explosive implications. As a result of his findings, Webb's career, family and life come under threat.

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Critic Reviews for Kill the Messenger

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (51) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (30)

Audience Reviews for Kill the Messenger

  • Aug 15, 2017
    Kill The Messenger is an intelligent investigative drama that will have you hooked from the start. Gary Webb, a journalist for a smallish news agency, stumbles upon a story which proves the CIA used cocaine profits from Central American drug smugglers to fund the Contra rebels. Never heard about it? Me neither, and in fact when the full report was published it was pushed aside by a scandal involving Bill Clinton. So, nearly a decade later, it's time to explore this intriguing story and fortunately this film is absolutely compelling. Yes, the film is about the CIA's involvement in Nicaragua, but beneath this is an individual who only desires to report the truth. Investigating a story with this much classification and secrecy results in the possibility of endangering both your career and family. But the biggest detriment, is to yourself. We see Gary Webb slowly degrade as the investigation takes its toll on him, he gradually becomes a broken man so transfixed on this job that he risks losing everything else. I found it to be utterly heartbreaking, yet rather relatable. This drama didn't need to include any thrills or chase sequences (in the fear that it becomes an action film), and yet director Michael Cuesta was bold enough to incorporate these tense pursuits. They worked. I was on edge. Why? Because Gary Webb was a well developed character. I felt for him and wanted him to succeed. This, for me, is Jeremy Renner's best performance. Forget about the supporting cast, this was his for the taking and he owned it. Emotional, physical and charismatic. Should've been nominated for more awards. The first half was a slow burner, but it picked up pace as soon as the story was established. The supporting cast were wasted, Winstead was probably the best out of them all but still underused. But due to a powerful central performance, this film was elevated to an enthralling level of intrigue. Oh, and the final screen texts detailing the aftermath? It crushed me inside. Gutted.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • Sep 11, 2015
    After an engaging first half that trusts our ability to put together the details of this whole affair as we follow its character, this strong political drama is sadly weakened by some annoying clichés, including that of him becoming an "obsessed man who moves away from his family."
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2015
    Could have been far better had they focused more on the investigative journalism than Webb's family life. It sort of distracts when it turns from a taut thriller to a humdrum family drama. Agreed that some footage ought to be given to that part, but it should have been quite limited. Maybe here too, the editor is to be blamed!!
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2015
    Gripping, dramatic and well worth watching. This true story of the CIA using drugs to fund a war shows how far people will go, not only to bury the truth, but to fight for it.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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