DVD Review: Truth

truthdvdSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: James Vanderbilt | CAST: Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Dennis Quaid
RELEASE DATE: 2/2/16 | PRICE: DVD $26.99, Blu-ray $34.99
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scene, featurettes, Q&A with cast and director
SPECS: R | 125 min. | Drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

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

The “other” big journalism film of 2015 after the much-acclaimed Spotlight, Truth offers an insightful survey of the power and failure of the press using a real-life incident as the source for suspense, and real-life heroics as well as serious, damaging miscues that reveal the flaws in network news coverage.

Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford in Truth.

Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford in Truth.

The film features Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) as Mary Mapes, a dynamic 60 Minutes producer allied with iconic newsman Dan Rather (Robert Redford, Downhill Racer). Before the 2004 presidential election, Mapes, Rather and their team uncover blockbuster information about George W. Bush’s political connections which led to his spotty service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Mapes and company piece together crucial elements of the case, but their dogged pursuit of the story and the legitimacy of sources eventually come back to threaten both the producer and newsman’s career.

Based on Mapes’ book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power, debuting director James Vanderbilt (screenwriter of Zodiac) has Truth play out like a procedural that may remind viewers of All the President’s Men (at times). Here, however, the journalists don’t triumph despite their passion and reporting chops. This may explain why this film never clicked with audiences during its brief theatrical run. Without examination, those familiar with the story may have perceived Truth as little more than a “liberals-good/conservatives-bad” fable. But there are more layers here, including some pointed observations about the nature of news in a corporate world and how deadlines and business can undermine the news-gathering process.

Blanchett, as expected, is a firecracker, while Redford’s Rather, really a supporting character, comes across simply as a decent, level-headed human being. Adding color to the proceedings are Dennis Quaid (Any Given Sunday), Elisabeth Moss  (TV’s Mad Men) and Topher Grace (Predators) as the eclectic investigative team on the story.

Audiences may not have handled this Truth in theaters, but it will likely find an audience in its Blu-ray and DVD incarnation.

Buy or Rent Truth
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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.