DVD: Kill the Messenger

KillDVDSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Michael Cuesta | CAST: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Andy Garcia
RELEASE DATE: 2/10/15 | PRICE: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack $34.98
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes
SPECS: PG | 1125 min. | Drama | 2.40:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall



A movie whose heart is in the right place, but, sadly, comes across as being made ten years too late and in need of more forcefulness , the drama Kill the Messenger tells the true story of Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner, The Bourne Legacy), the San Jose Mercury reporter who went on a dogged search investigating the link between crack, the CIA and Nicaraguan Contra money. His revelations are stunning and scary, leading him to government denials, a major drug kingpin in Central America and the threat of both his career and life coming to an end.

Jeremy Renner is reporter Gary Webb in Kill the Messenger

Jeremy Renner is reporter Gary Webb in Kill the Messenger

Renner is fine as the rebellious muckraker and his supporting cast if first-rate, too, including Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Oliver Platt (Chef) as Webb’s initially supportive editors, Andy Garcia (City Island) as an imprisoned drug lord and Michael Sheen (Beautiful Boy) as an NSC member who warns him “some stories are too good to tell.”

Unfortunately, director Michael Cuesta (L.I.E. and episodes of TV’s Homeland) fails to bring much energy to the proceedings, which makes the whole story appear dated and laissez faire. Of course, it’s not, but one wonders how Oliver Stone (Salvador), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) or a younger Costa-Gavras (Z) would have handled such potentially explosive material.

The disc includes a commentary by Cuesta, a handful of excised scenes and a handful of featurettes which look to be promos and EPKs.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.