Posted Mar 04 2016
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Truth - This Movie Rocks Outside The Spotlight

Dir: James Vanderbilt

Starring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach

Truth is the true story of how CBS News took a shot at President George W. Bush – and kind of dropped the ball. Powerhouse producer Mary Mopes (a splendid Blanchett) was the producer who thought she had the scoop on Bush’s cushy ride with the National Guard; Dan Rather (a perfectly cast Redford) was the public face of the investigation, the beloved and trusted anchor who ended up losing  his career over the duplicity that ensued.

In a season that has brought us Spotlight – and with Redford there to in some oblique way touchstone All The President’s Men – Truth is a worthy film. If a little too heavy handed.

The tale is certainly compulsive, and screenwriter turned director Vanderbilt certainly knows how to keep everything moving at a fair clip. But Truth does, at times, feel like it’s trying too hard. There are a tad too many stand up and be counted moments, where the ethicacy of old school journalism is eulogised, rather than shown. And which doesn’t always convince coming out of the mouth of Topher Grace. (Truth is – they were duped, and there’s no getting round it, despite the film’s best intentions.)

There’s plenty to like in Truth though, primarily the performances. Blanchett is a force to be reckoned with (even if Vanderbilt’s script does often seem to be providing her with the “Oscar clip” – and overplays her “daddy issues”), Redford is a remarkable presence who knows (and channels) his own relationship to and with the American public as much as Rather’s, and Quaid just seems to be having so much fun here, it’s infectious.

But there’s something curiously old fashioned about Truth. Not that they should be compared (but it’s inevitable) it lacks the forensic detail of Spotlight and that film’s sense of discovery.

Truth is, Truth is good. But not great.

 

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