The Pitt News

Renner impresses in ‘Messenger’

Back to Article
Back to Article

Renner impresses in ‘Messenger’

By Mason Lazarcheff / For The Pitt News

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

 “Kill the Messenger”

Directed by: Michael Cuesta

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Robert Patrick

Grade: B+

Is anything worth obsessing over? For Gary Webb, the answer wasn’t just a resounding “yes” but a necessary dependence.

Based on the true story of Webb (Jeremy Renner), a journalist for the San Jose Mercury News, “Kill the Messenger” follows his work investigating a CIA scandal about trafficking cocaine to the United States. The film explores Webb’s world of obsession and its repercussions.

Webb is as a family man with an unnatural obsession for revealing the truth in writing. Renner is no stranger to the world of obsession, after playing an adrenaline junkie in “The Hurt Locker.” He shows this explicitly as he rides his motorcycle horribly fast all over the place and by his desire to know about the scandal and all its secrets.

Webb dealt with constant smearing from newspapers nationwide, and several news shows discussed his findings, which were paired with actual news footage in the plot. Lots of people immediately responded to Webb’s article with the foreboding title “Dark Alliance.” Others in the media gradually uncovered dark secrets of Webb’s past and used them to undermine what he accomplished.

“Messenger” was well-written, with several silent scenes that were uncomfortable to watch, powerful monologues delivered to mass amounts of people and with intense investigative scenes that showed Webb’s willingness to do whatever was necessary to get the story.

Reactions were one of the crucial aspects of this film due to the sensitive nature of Webb’s story. All of his superiors, his family and his friends showed signs of approval of his story and then quickly turn to anger and disgust. But Webb’s conviction maintained throughout.

Webb’s connection to family made him a more relatable character, but he lost much of that charm when he was working. We saw him slowly lose his happiness as he delved deeper and deeper into the scandal. The obsession with the story grabbed ahold of him and slowly drained him of happiness.  As he was losing this battle, he lost everything around him — his coworkers, family and friends all turned against him.

Webb went through minefield after minefield looking for the truth and, upon discovering it, did not hesitate to write and share it with the whole world, despite warnings about the consequences. The article’s controversy after-the-fact made his investigation look like a walk in the park.

Leave a comment.

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Renner impresses in ‘Messenger’