Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) is an investigatory journalist who stumbles upon a lead into a story which leads down the rabbit-hole which is the American Government’s involvement in the crack epidemic on the streets of the U.S.A. As he gets closer to the truth, he is targeted by other newspapers and the government, as they try to stop him from unveiling the scandal.
Generally, with biopic type movies they fall into either focusing too heavily on the person and ignoring the events, or the other way round. Kill the Messenger’s possibly greatest strength is that it manages to balance these two factors rather brilliantly. It gives you a sense of who Webb was as a person – dogged but still vulnerable to the attacks on his personality – and it delves deep enough into the scandal itself to give you more than just an overview.
It also holds up well as just a standard thriller. There are tense scenes, and throughout it keeps you engaged and interested both in Renner’s development and the story. At times it tries to introduce a few too many characters (all played by relatively famous actors) and the plot at times is difficult to follow. But I don’t think this ever disengaged me, rather I paid more attention to keep up.
Overall, this is definitely worth a watch, whether you are interested in the true story, or just seeking a decent thriller.