Friday, October 17, 2014

Kill The Messenger Feels Like Another Unfortunate Misstep For Renner

Jeremy Renner has been billed as Hollywood's newest leading man for the last six years. But every chance he's gotten to prove he can carry a movie, it's gone bust. Kill the Messenger is just the next example of this very explainable anomaly.
Kill the Messenger is a true story about a small-time reporter catching a metaphorical tiger by the tail. Unfortunately for him, this tiger really does have teeth, and while he's completely new to this level of reporting, the CIA (or the tiger) is not. When it becomes apparent that the reporter isn't going to give up, the CIA ruins his life.
Not to give anything away, but that's literally the entire movie. And that's really the problem. Yes, the point exists in there... the messenger does get destroyed and those receiving the message don't really... can't really do anything with the information other than know that it happened. But the movie itself does not have enough content to warrant a full feature. Yes, the story is tragic, and people should know about it. But there needed to be another act in order for a feature to exist. And while the point probably lies somewhere within that fact, it doesn't excuse this final product's lack of content.
But let's get back to the first thought I had. Jeremy Renner has been surrounded by all sorts of quality here and in other flicks... and unfortunately, the more quality that's brought in to support him, the more it becomes obvious he's the weakest link. A movie starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Tim Blake Nelson, Michael Sheen, Richard Schiff, and Ray Liotta should not be boring. But because none of those actors is afforded adequate screen time or any kind of particularly interesting role... thanks to Renner's down-your-throat, screen-hogging Gary Webb (no offense to the real man), boring is exactly what this movie becomes.
Don't get me wrong. I actually think Jeremy Renner is a very talented individual... when given a minor role like we saw last season in Louie. His drug dealer performance in just a couple episodes of that show may actually be the best thing he's ever done... because he didn't have to carry the whole story by himself. When he is asked to be the next Jason Bourne, it fails because the movie requires too much of him. So ultimately I've come to the conclusion that Jeremy Renner is the most overhyped leading man who should actually be handling supporting roles. I think if studio execs and the creative community took a step back and recognized this, everyone would be better off. Renner movies wouldn't have to be just Renner movies, and audiences wouldn't have to suffer through them as they've been asked to do so many times of late.
So... this technically still being a Kill the Messenger review, I'm gonna end with this thought... Kill the Messenger misses the mark. It's still a story everyone should be aware of, but I would not recommend going to see the actual film. If you get a chance to read Gary Webb's original article (book), Dark Alliance, that's probably the way to go.


  1. I'm not trying to be a random D-bag here, but to be completely frank, you sound like you didn't actually watch this movie at all. Your "literal" movie description is an insult to Gary Webb's legacy and a derision of his demise. If you saw the film, then you know how critical the correct attribution of blame for Webb's destruction is, especially as main stream media are about to enter into a full-out war over this film. If the entire second half of the film didn't tell you, then at least the monologue at the end should have. Neither of those are spoilers you have to guess about. You can blog your opinions on Renner's acting abilities however you want (which is honestly what this sounds like), but please be more mindful of what you consider to be a "movie review" of this film, especially w/ NYT, Washington Post, & LA Times acting like they are with anything & everything involved with this movie.

  2. Thanks for the comment Psaenz. I think I was pretty clear in commenting on the quality of the film that made it to theaters including the acting performances and not on the actual life story of Gary Webb (which if it occurred as stated is tragic). I think this movie is just not good enough. And therefore, this main stream media "full-out war" that you attest is coming probably won't happen... duds at the box office usually don't make it onto peoples radars... because no one managed to see them.