kill the messenger movie based on true story

October 25, 2020

The millions of dollars made from those sales were later used to fund a secret war against the leftist Sandinista regime. [4], Principal photography began on July 16, 2013 in several Georgia locations, including Atlanta, Cobb County and Decatur. His death was ruled a suicide. (However, he also noted that Webb disagreed with him on this point.). "[10] On Metacritic, the film currently has a rating of 60 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Write to Eliana Dockterman at Webb's ensuing article about the abuses of forfeiture garners repeated phone calls from a woman named Coral, whom he agrees to meet when she says she has documents that prove the government sponsored cocaine sales in the U.S. Coral gives Webb a transcript of grand jury testimony (normally kept secret) which was accidentally released to her boyfriend, an accused drug dealer, during discovery. In Washington, D.C., Webb tracks down Fred Weil, a National Security Council employee who was an investigator on the Kerry Committee report, which touched on the same issues. Kill the Messenger is a 2014 American biographical crime thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. [12][13] Attention was also drawn to the large discrepancy in the amount of television advertising that Focus Features gave to each of its fall releases, specifically between Kill the Messenger, which was given a total of 448 national advertisements, to Theory of Everything, which was nationally aired 3,046 times and largely on major television networks (i.e., ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV). “Even sources who are routinely skeptical of the official line on the contras agree that the idea that the agency was behind drug smuggling by the contras is fantasy,” journalist Eliane Shannon, who covered the war on drugs, told TIME shortly after the Mercury New ran the articles. Webb views their follow-up reporting as being far too deferential to the CIA. Through the petition and direct appeals to Focus Features, attention was drawn to the fact that the film distribution company aired more national television commercials for Kill the Messenger six weeks after the premiere date than they did before the film was released in theaters, and almost exclusively outside of primetime hours and off of major broadcasting companies. [11], Several weeks after the Kill the Messenger premiere, the significant lack of advertising for the film and its rapid retraction from theaters led to the creation of a petition to re-release the film in theaters on November 24, 2014 through, entitled "Focus Features: Support Gary Webb and Re-Release Kill the Messenger in Theaters." A 1998, a CIA inspector general’s report denied any ties between the U.S. government and the drug dealers Webb named in his articles and book, but ultimately confirmed Webb’s thesis that the CIA had worked with contras despite drug-dealing allegations against them. [13][14], The petition picked up a strong momentum through social media, accruing over 2,000 signatures in less than two weeks. Still, Webb’s reputation as an investigative journalist was tarnished. But many dismissed Webb’s reporting as a conspiracy theory. [15][16][17] The weekend of December 5, Focus Features expanded Kill the Messenger to 19 additional theaters, for a sum of 27 theaters overall. Armed with this knowledge, Ross' attorney is able to elicit from Blandón under oath the outlines of the conspiracy: With support from the Central Intelligence Agency, Blandón and his partners smuggled cocaine into the U.S. and used the profits to benefit the Nicaraguan Contras. Humiliated by being scooped by a regional paper, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times all dig into Webb's reporting. The film opens as San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb interviews drug dealer Ronny Quail, who is outraged that the government used civil asset forfeiture to keep his house even after he was acquitted. The next year, he published a book titled Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion detailing his own reporting process and the controversy the series provoked. [5][6], Nathan Johnson composed the score for the film,[7] and Back Lot Music release a soundtrack album on October 7, 2014. He is awoken in his motel room one night by John Cullen, who is precisely the kind of CIA source with direct knowledge of the scheme that Webb's reporting needs. [4][9], The film has received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 77%, based on 128 reviews, with an average rating of 6.61/10. He does, however, believe in real conspiracies: “If I believe it, there’s nothing ‘theory’ about it.” The true story on which the movie is based, however, makes it clear that it’s not always obvious what’s a theory and what’s the truth. By signing up you are agreeing to our, The '70s Cocaine Scandal That Could Have Rocked the White House, The Trump Campaign Is Trying to Suppress the Black Vote, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. [12], On December 11, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment announced the DVD release date for Kill the Messenger, several days before the petition reached 2,500 signatures. The film stars Jeremy Renner in his first film as a producer. As word about the story spread through the Internet, TV and radio, politicians took up Webb’s cause. In short, Webb accused the CIA of being complicit in getting thousands of poor African-Americans addicted to crack in order to fund rebels in Central America. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. Like many other people that Webb speaks to, Weil warns him that the subject may put him into danger. It started when Webb wrote a series of three articles for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 dubbed “Dark Alliance.” In his report, Webb — who had won a Pulitzer in 1989 for a different story — claimed that the CIA was partly responsible for bringing crack cocaine to the United States in the 1980s. [19], CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking, Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association, "Kill the Messenger (2014) - Financial Information", "Jeremy Renner's 'Kill the Messenger' Gets Fall Release Date", "Jeremy Renner movie, 'Kill the Messenger', filming in Decatur, GA", "Nathan Johnson Scoring 'Kill the Messenger, "Kill the Messenger, Starring Jeremy Renner, is Coming in October", "FEATURE: HOLLYWOOD SNUBS MOVIE DEPICTING HOW US AUTHORITIES CONTRIBUTED TO THE CRACK & COCAINE EPIDEMICS, HARMING URBAN COMMUNITIES", "Gary Webb Has Been Suppressed AGAIN!!! On March 5, 2014, Focus Features announced that the film would be released on October 10, 2014. [8], Kill the Messenger received a regional theatrical release on October 10, 2014. Webb's exhilaration at finding Cullen is quickly dampened when the paper reveals its plans to write an open letter calling into question aspects of its "Dark Alliance" reporting. [13], As a result of this marketing campaign, the highest domestic television coverage for Kill the Messenger occurred when it had been retracted from all but 18 theaters in the United States and three weeks before its theatrical run was ended. At a Society of Professional Journalists dinner honoring Webb as the Bay Area "Journalist of the Year", he submits his resignation to his editors. Webb conducted a year-long investigation during which he discovered that a San Francisco-based drug ring, which had ties to a CIA-sponsored Nicaraguan contra group called the FDN, sold cocaine to a dealer in South Central Los Angeles. Webb researches Blandón and comes across the pending case of "Freeway" Rick Ross, who is stunned to learn that Blandón is a paid informant. From Left: Late journalist Gary Webb, Actor Jeremy Renner in 'Kill the Messenger', Third Wave of COVID-19 in U.S. Is the Worst, The Disastrous Swedish Approach to Fighting COVID-19, Coronavirus Maps: How COVID-19 Has Spread, You can unsubscribe at any time. [18], In early February, Kill the Messenger was leaked online, and was reportedly among the top ten films with the most unauthorized downloads for several weeks. ", "From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment: Kill The Messenger", "TOP 10 MOST PIRATED MOVIES OF THE WEEK-– 02/02/15", "The Anti-Oscars 2014: The James Agee Cinema Cinema Circle Awards", "2015 Golden Trailer Awards Winners Revealed", "Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights", Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House,, Films about the Central Intelligence Agency, Films with screenplays by Peter Landesman, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles to be expanded from September 2015, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. In a scene from the new movie Kill the Messenger, investigative reporter Gary Webb (played by Jeremy Renner) says that he doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories. Webb travels to a prison in Managua and speaks to Blandón's partner Norwin Meneses, who confirms Oliver North's involvement in the basic "drugs for guns" scheme to use profits from cocaine trafficking to fund the Contras. For good measure, federal agents summon Webb to a meeting where they warn him against publishing what he has learned. Kill the Messenger is a 2014 American biographical crime thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. After Webb reveals to the prosecutor in the case that he has the transcript, the government drops the charges against Coral's boyfriend in order to protect their main witness: Oscar Danilo Blandón. Webb resigned from the paper shortly thereafter. However, he continues to work on the story. Ceppos said that the paper “did not have proof” that top CIA officials knew about the connection between the L.A. drug trade and the contras. It was accompanied by a heavy-handed picture of a man smoking crack under the CIA seal. The film was released on October 10, 2014.[4]. Joe Barber Award-Best Portrayal of Washington D.C. Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema, Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights, Pillar Award for Best Whistle Blower Film, This page was last edited on 1 October 2020, at 03:01. In 2004, Webb was found dead at the age of 49 from two gunshot wounds to the head. The paper publishes Webb's story as a three-part series with the title "Dark Alliance"; it is an immediate sensation. The film was released on October 10, 2014. Epilogue tells that in 2004 Gary Webb was found dead in his apartment, shot twice in the head. Webb is banished to the newspaper's Cupertino bureau to cover mundane local news. All Rights Reserved. It is based on the book of the same name by Nick Schou and the book Dark Alliance by Gary Webb, which focuses on CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking. Representative Maxine Waters, a congresswoman for South Central Los Angeles — the heart of the drug wars — requested both federal and congressional inquiries into the role that the U.S. government played in bringing cocaine into her community. The site's consensus reads, "Kill the Messenger's potent fury over the tale of its real-life subject overrides its factual inaccuracies and occasional narrative stumbles. Eventually, their reporting turns to Webb himself, including an affair he had while working at the Plain Dealer. The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times all ran their own investigations that disputed many points in Webb’s story — though all three of those pieces had their own reporting problems, according to TIME’s Jack E. White.

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