Kill the Messenger (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

Kill the Messenger (2014)



Critic Consensus: Kill the Messenger's potent fury over the tale of its real-life subject overrides its factual inaccuracies and occasional narrative stumbles.

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Movie Info

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner ("The Bourne Legacy") leads an all-star cast in a dramatic thriller based on the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb. Webb stumbles onto a story which leads to the shady origins of the men who started the crack epidemic on the nation's streets...and further alleges that the CIA was aware of major dealers who were smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and using the profits to arm rebels fighting in Nicaragua. Despite warnings from drug kingpins and CIA operatives to stop his investigation, Webb keeps digging to uncover a conspiracy with explosive implications. His journey takes him from the prisons of California to the villages of Nicaragua to the highest corridors of power in Washington, D.C. - and draws the kind of attention that threatens not just his career, but his family and his life. (c) Focus

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Jeremy Renner
as Gary Webb
Ray Liotta
as John Cullen
Tim Blake Nelson
as Alan Fenster
Paz Vega
as Coral Baca
Michael Sheen
as Fred Weil
Robert Patrick
as Ronald J. Quail
Barry Pepper
as Russell Dodson
Andy Garcia
as Norwin Meneses
Joshua Close
as Rich Kline
Oliver Platt
as Jerry Ceppos
Jena Sims
as Quail's Girlfriend
Robert Pralgo
as L.A. Sheriff
Hajji Golightly
as DEA Agent
Lucas Hedges
as Ian Webb
Matthew Lintz
as Eric Webb
Douglas Parker
as Christine Webb
Kai Schmoll
as Sacramento Journalist
Aaron Farb
as Rafael Cornejo
Tom Jordan
as San Francisco Judge
Clay Edmond Kraski
as DEA Agent Jones
Yul Vázquez
as Danilo Blandon
Jen Harper
as Ricky Ross Trial Judge
Brett Rice
as Hansjorg Baier
Gil Bellows
as DEA Agent Miller
Steve Coulter
as Anonymous Agent
Kenny Alfonso
as Marc Mansfield
Dan Futterman
as Leo Wolinsky
Susan Walters
as Los Angeles Times Editor
Richard Schiff
as Richard Zuckerman
David de Vries
as Washington Post Editor
David Garver
as Doug Farah
Rhoda Griffis
as Female Anchor
Andrew Masset
as San Jose Mercury News Editor
Kevin Harrison
as Man in Suit
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News & Interviews for Kill the Messenger

Critic Reviews for Kill the Messenger

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (34)

Kill the Messenger does a credible if not dazzling job. In fact, the movie is a lot like the reporting that inspired it: a good introduction to a diabolically tangled tale.

October 14, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Clichés and obviousness litter the movie.

October 10, 2014 | Full Review…

It's oversold and under-reported. But Kill the Messenger flies high on Jeremy Renner's all-stops-out performance as 1990s-era journalist Gary Webb. Flaws aside, the film inspires a moral outrage that feels disconcertingly timely.

October 10, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The story of a crusading reporter's determined search for truth, "Kill The Messenger" gains its not-inconsiderable power by not being the kind of movie that particular description might lead you to expect.

October 10, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A resonant journalistic cautionary tale gets packaged as a hokey thriller in Kill the Messenger, a movie with a message that isn't nearly as urgent as it needs to be.

October 10, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Drugs, government, truths, mustaches. "Kill the Messenger" is an admirable journalism thriller that takes on a lot of big subjects.

October 10, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Kill the Messenger


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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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 stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


After completing an article about government forfeiture programs, journalist Gary Webb(Jeremy Renner) is approached by Coral Baca(Paz Vega) with a story of her own. Through documents she was accidentally sent, she tells him about a CIA plot to sell drugs in order to finance their dirty war in Central America. That leads him to Ricky Ross(Michael Kenneth Williams) who was unaware that his partner in crime, Danilo Blandon(Yul Vasquez), was on the government payroll. That leads to Norwin Meneses(Andy Garcia) in Nicaragua and then Fred Weil(Michael Sheen) in the halls of power in Washington, DC. Proving once and for all that all movies should start with a shirtless Robert Patrick, "Kill the Messenger" occasionally feels like it is only skimming the surface of its very complex tale while hitting the right paranoid notes. At the heart of it is an excellent performance by Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, a man of contradictions. Not only was he a family man with some very large skeletons in his closet and lover of motorcycles, but also a journalist who sacrificed everything for the truth who was accused of fabricating material for his articles. But forget the facts of the case for a second, and it becomes clear that the movie is asking some serious questions about journalism that somebody is going to have to answer one of these days.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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