Kill the Messenger

Movie review by S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Kill the Messenger Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Tense journalism thriller examines CIA-Contra scandal.

R 2014 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Renner is terrific, and the film is surprisingly objective.

My biggest concern going into this is that it would be like The Fifth Estate all over again. That movie had some great performances, but its lack of priorities and direction screamed "made for TV." Kill the Messenger has the same problem for about the first four minutes. The title sequences are overt and the music is like something from a Lifetime movie, but then the direction becomes subtle and brisk. The pacing is picks up around the 20-minute mark and becomes strong, and the script is surprisingly objective, mostly refraining from vilifying or deifying Gary Webb. They say in the film that truth isn't a black or white issue, and they actual stick to that school of thought. It's only the final ten minutes or so that decide that Webb is an amazing person. It's not that saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but the sudden change in voice is a bit noticeable. The acting, however, is solid throughout. Jeremy Renner is terrific and is given far more to do than any of his work in the Marvel movies. It's not like I would say his performance is on the level of Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man earlier this year (their subject matters and characters are somewhat similar, allowing comparisons), but I hope that he follows through with more roles like this in the future. And regarding the rest of the cast, I'm surprisingly that even they're good. Even the teenage son is good, and the father-son relationship doesn't seem contrived. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is great as always. Despite the film's occasionally inconsistent narrative, this is surprisingly good. It seems to be elevated a fair amount by its cast, but the direction is far above something like The Fifth Estate. There are some bits shown in the film that don't seem to do much and the final minute seems to rely on text screens and archival footage to wrap up plot points, but I still found myself invested. 7.5/10, good, one thumb up, above average, etc.

This title has:

Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Movie Details

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