London Film Festival 2015 Review: Truth

American controversy and a Bush based scandal- It’s a high octane ride in Truth-  James Vanderbelt’s directorial debut.

Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford star in the true story of Mary Mapes and the 60 minutes documentary that ended her career. Based on her  memoir Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power the feature follows the Killian documents controversy, and the resulting last days of news anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes at CBS News.

For something with such a high profile subject matter the film feels remarkably ‘human’ with moments of comic relief that really lift the realness of the situation and weather republican or not- get you right on side.  Unless you’re a heartless, patriotic git- then you may have issues.

Mapes, producer of the prime time show, her crew and news anchor Dan Rather are penalised and face questioning in the lead up to the US 2004 presidential election, due to their  report that President George W. Bush, then seeking re-election, had in the early 1970s received 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 – Basically that he’d been a skiving bastard and avoided being sent to Vietnam due to favouritism and family connections

The main documents on which these finger pointers were based were immediately questioned by supporters during the airing and the saga spirals from there. Scandal aside, what makes this film so watchable, relatable and in fact moving is the strength of it’s screen play and actors.  It’s a clever film and one that (and I hate to use the cliche) keeps you on the edge of your seat as you follow the story from start to finish. Through it we are very much opened up to Mapes struggles as both a reporter, professional, mother, wife and woman. A far cry from the biopic of the pig headed journalist who got caught out. As the title alludes, Truth is a very true and raw reperesntation of just what can happen when the shit goes down in current affairs journalism.

Blanchett and Redford as Mapes and Rather create a remarkable bond with a struggle of dignity and reputation that you truly believe in and I with no political connection to America found myself crying for their struggle. Mapes as a reporter simply doing her job in the quest for the truth being branded as a left wing feminist trouble maker is a theme that is  occurring far more frequently than it should in modern day current affairs.

And if that doesn’t sway you, well their depictions of wine are highly comical….