By Nate Willis, Entertainment Writer
In his directorial debut, writer James Vanderbilt brings the true story of the 2004 Killian document controversy back to life. The film portrays the account of Mary Mapes (played wonderfully by Cate Blanchett), who was fired from her job as a producer of 60 Minutes after the legitimacy of source documents was called into question. Although political overtones exist throughout, Vanderbilt makes an active attempt to depoliticize the events that occur.
The source material for this film is Mapes’ novel, “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power”, so it makes sense that Blanchett is in just about every scene. It follows Mapes’ investigation into the military record of former president George W. Bush, ultimately claiming that he got away with being AWOL while with the National Guard because of his father. With the entire film relying on Mapes’ character, I was happy to see Blanchett was more than up to the task. Blanchett comes across as a strong female who searches for the truth regardless of its consequences. As the film’s terrific lead, Blanchett is as fierce as she is elegant, zealous as she is graceful and intense as she is vulnerable. Robert Redford plays the now-retired anchor for 60 Minutes Dan Rather, and it is with his performance that we discover (through the eyes of Mapes) the essence of the story.
“Truth” has the subtle raw intensity similarly found in “Zodiac” (Vanderbilt wrote that screenplay as well), but it becomes much more frightening as it progresses. This proves once again that the scariest films don’t have to be filled with violence and gore; they just have to be true stories. “Truth” becomes an examination of the consequences of digging too deep into a political leader’s past, and somehow the message feels clichéd. With this all-too familiar narrative, it becomes ironic that we are so aware of the corruptness within the media and government, yet we do nothing because terrible things happen to those who do something.
Some may criticize this film for the negative portrayal of conservatives, but I would advise those on the Right to not be left out of enjoying this film just because of political bias. Fittingly, “Truth” is very honest film, one that allows the audience to view the events of the recent past through Vanderbilt’s creative lens. Despite its obvious political leanings, I would recommend this film to liberals and conservatives alike. I think most people can take away valuable insight from “Truth”, insight that can lead to more political awareness as election season starts to heat up.
Nate’s Netflix Picks:
- Hot Fuzz
- Finding Neverland