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Truth

Year: 2015
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: James Vanderbilt
Writer: James Vanderbilt/Mary Mapes
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, Dermot Mulroney, Andrew McFarlane, Noni Hazelhurst, Phillip Quast, Steve Bastoni, Chris Mulkey

One of the many stories of the last few years showing the fallout from a collision between politics/power and media like we've seen in Spotlight, The Post and others, and not just in content. It's similar to those award-botherers in tone too, all sombre reverence for the world of and act of journalism.

The incident is the notorious 60 Minutes report on George W Bush's military record, where producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett, playing Mapes as a dedicated and dogged but dishevelled figure trying to hold everything together) uncovered what looked like proof Bush used political connections to dodge not just the Vietnam war but military service altogether.

Mapes' polar opposite is the stoic elder statement of the American news business, Dan Rather (Robert Redford), occupying the same revered position in the American public consciousness as Walter Cronkie and Mike Wallace before him. Ice-cool, calm and authoritative but nevertheless supportive of his colleagues, Rather is only who he is because of the team behind him.

When Mapes sniffs out the AWOL Bush story, she puts together a specialist group consisting of a journalism teacher (Elizabeth Moss), a former general turned reporter (Dennis Quaid) and a gossip stringer (Topher Grace). Like in The Post, Bruce Greenwood shows up as an alpha male figure in the form of CBS president Andrew Heyward.

While showing something of the personal cost to their lives, time, families, etc, Truth does a dramatic and adequately watchable job of showing the way news gathering works. After nothing but phones slammed down in their ears, the team digs up and holds on to the merest of connections, hoping they lead somewhere until they have enough to go on.

Of course, history tells us otherwise. If you don't know what became of Mapes and Rather after the real life case I won't spoil it for you, but as well as being a classic story about the skills and persoanlities needed for investigative journalism, it's also about how the financial ruling class that owns the journalism business is all too prepared to throw people under the bus as penance for corporate embarrassment.

It doesn't manage quite the same frenetic sense of urgency Spotlight did from people poring through documents and meeting sources, but it's a good story delivered by great actors. And watch out for more than a couple of names from the old guard of Australia's acting industry.

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