I'm always amazed at how people who tout God and Country, or wave the flag from their trucks and pin it to their lapels, are the same people most likely to vote for candidates who call P.O.W.'s losers and cowards, attack the service record of those wounded in combat, or brag about a Commander-in-Chief who was A.W.O.L. They allow ideology instead of facts, to paint their reality.
The movie, TRUTH, is about the the journalistic scoop that exposed the George W. Bush record - or lack of one - during his National Guard service. It is pretty much accepted now that Bush was technically A.W.O.L. during his National Guard service. He was placed in an elite unit of pilots that comprised solely of boys from rich and politically connected families. A place in the unit meant they didn't have to go to Vietnam. Yet, during his time, Bush partied a lot, helped other campaigns and pretty much did his own thing. None of that is in dispute.
I don't begrudge anyone for finding deferments to avoid going to war. By the same token, I don't think anyone who goes should be berated for sucking it up and putting their lives on the line. Let us face it, rich people have more options in these situations than the working poor. A rich, political daddy can get you in a National Guard unit that won't ever see combat. A poor father has to pray each night his son or daughter doesn't get blown to shreds.
Truth hammers home two important issues that are in play today. The first is how corporate interests have ruined the way news is broadcast. The scandal around the story cost the producers and anchor Dan Rather their jobs. They did broadcast the truth but CBS caved because the parent company had corporate interest at stake that were financial, not news related.
The reporting also became about the people doing the reporting and the documents - this deflected attention from the real news which was never in dispute: George W. Bush never fulfilled his duty in the National Guard nor was he really expected to do so when he was placed in that unit. Original records 'disappeared'. It helps to have a dad who was Director of The CIA and later President.
This movie is about what the news people were put through in getting the story, and more importantly how their lives were destroyed in the aftermath.
The cast is a good one. There are Oscar winners Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. Blanchett plays Mary Mapes - the news person who also broke the Abu Ghraib story and followed it up with this piece. Redford portrayed Dan Rather and I thought caught the physicality and speech pattern of Dan Rather in his performance. There are also nice performances by Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace (who I wish was in more movies as he is a good actor), Elizabeth Moss and Stacy Keach.
The story is a bit slow in pace. And while the performances are solid, to some degree, I felt it lacked a bit of focus. It was interesting to learn about all the goings on behind the scenes and there is no way to walk away from this movie without a 'wow, WTF' moment.
This movie had a limited release late 2015 before being sent to DVD this month. You can find it at your local Redbox. On the rating scale, I give it 4/5.