Truth is a film worth seeking out. As it is only in limited release, cinema lovers will have to make a special effort to see this film. Truth is a political drama based on the memoir 'Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power' by Mary Mapes, an American journalist and television news producer.
The film is an expose of the Killian documents controversy. This relates to memo's that cite George W. Bush receiving preferential treatment from officials of the Texas Air National Guard. The allegation included concealing Bush's failure to meet even minimal training and performance requirements, and his absence from the Air Guard for most of 1972 following a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard.
The film traces the initial discovery of the memos and attempts to verify their authenticity, which becomes the heart of the film. The resulting search for answers on the Bush service records are overshadowed by the controversy about the documents being forgeries. This is played out in detail as phone calls are made, messages are left and sources checked. The major theme is one of freedom of the press and the right to ask questions. This gets thrown around a lot. What makes this story about the morals of journalism and politics really tick is the gripping performances by all the main lead actors.
Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes is always on note as she becomes obsessed with getting this story out, but at what cost to her family, health and career. The main 60 Minutes anchor, played with appropriate charisma by Robert Redford, is portrayed as an American institution. Redford as Dan Rather has the charm and sincerity to win over most people, but even he is wounded by the resulting scandal. The team of journalists who run the story are all convincing including actors Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elizabeth Moss. Keep an eye out also for supporting roles by Noni Hazlehurst and Andrew McFarlane.
The film is written and directed by James Vanderbilt, in his directorial debut. The storyline manages to laud and savage the press and is a voyeuristic look into this world of spin, deadlines and divided loyalties. This is superior filmmaking and acting that is in short supply, so grab the opportunity to see it before it is off our screens.