Monday, October 26, 2015
Truth Review - 2 Stars
“Truth” tells television journalist Mary Mapes side of the controversial ’60 Minutes II” segment on George W. Bush’s days in the national guard. The segment airing before the 2004 election implies Bush pulled strings to avoid service in Viet Nam, something countless middle and upper class boys did during that time. Cate Blanchett plays Mapes with high energy and drama, maybe a little too much drama. “Truth” captures the excitement of network television news as Mapes jets from one city to another and commutes from her home in Dallas to New York and the network. “Truth” may suffer a little bit by the casting of Robert Redford as Dan Rather. I never got past seeing one famous actor doing a pretty good imitation of another famous public figure. It felt like Dan horse whispered to Redford on their combined legacies. At any rate, Mapes gets on the story, rushes it to make a deadline, and watches horrified as it falls apart, not necessarily because of untruth but more because of the motives of her source. Once the story falls apart, political forces and corporate motives take over as a panel investigates the piece, and the reporting that went into it. Towards the end of her hearing, Mapes cannot resist lecturing those in charge of her fate. Of course they fire her. “Truth” reminds viewers that television news evolved from a public trust to another a corporate profit center thanks to changes in regulation. Corporate motives almost always carry the day soft pedaling news that could impact the bottom line. End credits reveal Mary Mapes has not worked in television news since 2004. This presentation lacks self examination. It feels one-sided, giving Mary Mapes another forum for the lecture she delivers at the end of the film. The story about George W. Bush and the Air National Guard is most likely true. Mapes and Rather blunted the impact when they rushed to air. Does it deliver what it promises? Movie about journalism more depressing than revealing. Is it entertaining? Sad story. Is it worth the price of admission? Left me depressed and empty.