Review: ‘Truth’ Blanchett Illuminates

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Regardless of what political agenda someone might have, Truth is an incredibly captivating film. It’s easy to dismiss this film on the notion that the story behind Truth was politically motivated, but it’s hard to dismiss the tremendous performances of both Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. Above all else, it can’t be disputed that the story is unique: how many scandals can you name involving the leader of the free world and the end of a beloved news anchor’s (Dan Rather) career.

Truth is being heralded as Redford’s time to shine when, in fact, it’s Blanchett who steals this movie. This will come as no surprise to anyone as it would be easy to argue that Cate Blanchett is one the best actresses in Hollywood. Her portrayal of Mary Mapes is done with both passion and a strong will, but with appropriate vulnerability the entire time. Redford portrays Dan Rather traditionally, but it comes off as a flat impression. The credit for any sort of chemistry generated by these two great actors should be given to Cate Blanchett. Even in the midst of Redford’s belabored attempt to become Dan Rather, Blanchett’s screen presence draws not only the audience in but also the actors she’s in the scene with. She creates a real spark with Redford and they seemed to feed off of each other in the film. Her relentless effort in scene after scene elevate the quality of this picture.

Director James Vanderbilt, who penned the sublime screenplay for David Fincher’s Zodiac, will receive a ton of praise for this film, and rightly so. Vanderbilt’s work here is fantastic. Even though the film has all the look and feel of a good old-fashioned newsroom melodrama, this film actually has the pacing of an action film. The cinematography, editing, and tremendous musical score all make Truth a unique experience. Remember, unique can be wonderful.

Truth has been getting pounded in the media. CBS has even taken the stance of not airing any commercials that promote the film. The media is proclaiming that this film glorifies a group of individuals who perpetrated a lie about the President of The United States. The people who are shouting from the mountaintops that Truth is more “left wing” propaganda likely haven’t watched this film. Truth is not about the 60 Minutes II scandal; it’s about the absence of truth in our pursuit of getting the “story.” Though Mary Mapes is clearly to blame for not fully validating those “documents” as they were building their story, what astonished me is that everyone lost sight of the “truth” behind the actual story. If anything, Truth shows the audience that these days that truth is nothing more than what we can sell to the general public

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Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.

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