“Telling the truth can be dangerous business.” That’s a line from a film, but not the film that we’re talking about.
Years ago, 1998 to be specific, Oprah Winfrey was sued by cattle ranchers for $12-million over comments she made on her television show about eating a hamburger. Last week an internet meme circulated regarding getting cancer from eating processed as well as red meat. You cannot sue an internet meme.
The movie Truth recounts events over a hard news story that resulted in a public apology and the destruction of careers. Truth stars Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, the producer and newscaster duo that broke the story about then President George Bush avoiding service in Viet Nam by preferential treatment that landed him an alternative gig with the Texas Air National Guard during the same period.
For the record it is a well-known fact that Viet Nam era politicians had their sons placed in the Texas Air National Guard including John Connally, George Bush and Lloyd Bentsen. This is brought up in the movie as well as the fact that handwriting and typing experts used by Mapes and team were not vetted as well as they could’ve been. Initial sources deny their original comments leading to even more confusion.
Truth defines the level of CBS executives above Mapes that includes her immediate supervisors (who push forward the go-date of the story), their supervisor and the top dog – the head of the news division. Blanchett and Redford give strong performances, as do supporting players Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach and Noni Hazlehurst. The latter name will not be as familiar as some of the others but she has an amazing scene where she chastises the news pros that just tore apart her husband’s (Keach) lies in a filmed interview. Truth was shot in Australia.
There’s a combination of suspense coupled with reportage genre filmmaking that gives Truth an urgent ripped from the headlines feel despite the fact that the events happened over a decade ago.
Truth opens in Houston this weekend, including an engagement at the River Oaks Three.
— Michael Bergeron