If 2015 films couldn’t get any better for Cate Blanchett…
Truth, from director and writer James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man) features an almost career best performance for Cate Blanchett. The rest of the cast does well, as well, but the screenplay could have used a little bit of rework to make this picture really take off. Personally, I think Blanchett should have been nominated for this film (Best Actress) vs. Carol.
The film centers around the true accounts of a 2004 CBS 60 minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service in Vietnam. The story is headed by CBS’s Mary Mapes (Blanchett) and a team she put together including Lt. Colonel Roger Charles (played by Dennis Quaid), Lucy Scott (played by Elisabeth Moss) and Mike Smith (played by Topher Grace). The team works to figure out if these copies of memos stating that Bush never served are authentic, taping into people who would have worked closely on the base. The team has a tough time, as no one wants to fess up. However, they eventually get Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett (played by Stacy Keach) to say yes, these memos do look correct.
So with that, they put Dan Rather (played by Robert Redford) out to report on the story, thinking they have struck gold with this story. However, a firestorm comes back at them when reports start to state that the memos were made up, saying some of the subscripts, etc. were not available on typewriters at that time, and the documents could have easily been copied in Microsoft Word. This brings a whole investigation into the story, that eventually cost Mapes, her team and Rather their jobs.
Cate Blanchett steals the show in this mesmerizing and powerful performance. It ranks right up there with her Oscar winning performance in Blue Jasmine. She is a tough, spitfire who doesn’t take anyones crap during the investigation, making her delivery absolutely wonderful.
Robert Redford also does quite well as Dan Rather, even though I felt like his part was pretty one note. This includes the rest of the cast as well. They are all very good, but they don’t shine like Blanchett. This is definitely her film.
As for the direction, it’s solid. Vanderbilt keeps the suspense and briskness going with his good pacing. The problems come in with the screenplay. Though it’s not a bad screenplay at all, it still has its moments that seem to not fit the story. Like families sitting around their TVs when the story broke, as if they are watching someone’s funeral. I just think the story could have gone deeper and possibly been more authentic.
Truth is a solid newsroom film with a tour-de-force performance from Cate Blanchett. I think she should have been nominated for this film, as it really shows off her acting abilities very well. As for the story, it could have been improved to make this film really standout. Rated R.