4 hours ago
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Another film about investigative journalism, and by no means the first to set blood pressures rising, particularly for those Americans of a Republican persuasion.
Based on a book by, and featuring as main character, Mary Mapes, a name I didn't know (Cate Blanchett - the acting range of this woman is extraordinary!), it also features CBS political commentator, Dan Rather (Robert Redford), a name I was aware of, but little more than that.
It concerns the 2004 rumoured story that George W. Bush, then on his campaign to attain a second term as President had, in the early 1970s, taken a safer alternative to doing active combat service in Viet Nam thanks to familial and political influences in Washington D.C., and even then he hadn't fulfilled the minimum requirements of attendance. Blanchett, as Mapes, gets her teeth into the story and sets about finding validation by interviewing those senior army personnel around at the time who can confirm what happened regarding Bush. She opens up this story with Dan Rather who is keen to run with it, reporting its progress on CBS's widely-viewed 'Sixty Minutes' TV programme. Then the 'other side' starts to claim that some key documents are forgeries and it helps even less when at least one strategic witness modifies his story. Was he leaned on for political reasons? Meanwhile the investigation is raising tensions within Mapes' own family life. Is she really after the truth or is she determined at any cost to discredit Bush in order to help the Democrats Presidential campaign for Kerry?
As the evidence is explained to us I felt in danger of becoming lost, though I wasn't completely. However, the case isn't as clear-cut as it was in the recent 'Spotlight'.
In the large cast (every single one a white face!) is also Dennis Quaid and they are all of a high standard, though once again it's Blanchett who carries the acting honours.
This seems to be James Vanderbilt's debut as feature film director and he manages a more than respectable achievement, as well as writing the screenplay from Mapes' book. The film is good and I'd recommend it, though not above some recent films of a similar genre of story...........................6.5.