Truth (James Vanderbilt, 2015)
Cate Blanchett nails it yet again as journalist and CBS news producer, Mary Mapes in Truth. Based on the Killian documents controversy, Truth details the downfall of Mapes and 60 Minutes news anchor, Dan Rather (Robert Redford), following their airing of a story prior to the 2004 election which called into question George W. Bush’s fulfilment of his military service during the Vietnam War.
Not one for the right-wing nuts (and don’t trust the IMDB user ratings as this is one of those films that is voted down by those who have never even seen it), Truth is a scathing look at the efforts made to bring down those who attempt to expose the truth by focusing on trivial details at the expense of the bigger picture. After the exposé was rushed to air, questions were raised about the authenticity of documents central to the story, with much of the controversy centred on font types which hinted at possible forgery. The initial investigation concerning Bush was conveniently overshadowed, making way for his successful re-election in 2004. Director and screenwriter James Vanderbilt does not hide his political agenda, and his film has a depressing message about how the media isn’t as free as we would all hope.
Despite being a specifically American story, Truth was filmed in Sydney, Australia, as evidenced by the slew of local faces that show up in bit parts. Blanchett naturally steals the show, but is supported ably by Robert Redford as the stoic Rather, along with Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Elisabeth Moss as further members of the team. Vanderbilt provides insight into how events affected each individual, with a specific focus on Mapes, who went from acclaimed journalist to disgraced has-been in one fell swoop. Truth does not deny that mistakes were made, but portrays Mapes as someone with strong journalistic integrity. Her downfall is depressing, but hopefully this film does her some justice.