According to a recent article on Time, a newspaper reporter was ranked as the worst job in America for the third year in a row. Out of a total of 10 professions, the job of broadcaster was, similarly, ranked at number three. Both professions report a poor growth outlook of -9%, statistics that could probably be borne out in the film, Truth, a story about a television news team who lose their jobs over a controversial news piece. The story is set during the upcoming 2004 presidential elections in the USA. The CBS 60 Minutes team at the time compile a report on President George Bush’s shady military past, alleging that the incumbent president had, in his youth, used his privileged connections to avoid being drafted into the war against Vietnam.
The team’s whole premise is based on documents obtained from a “secret” source. And it is these documents that prove to be the downfall of the piece. The story is ultimately pulled, CBS makes a public apology and all the team members lose their jobs.
Cate Blanchett is cast as the hardworking producer of 60 Minutes, Mary Mapes. Whilst Blanchett presents a really strong performance I’m not convinced she manages to pull Mapes off to the full. As Mapes, Blanchett is a middle-of-the-road character with untidy hair and cheap make-up – somewhat different to the roles I have seen this poised and sophisticated actress usually play.
The story, likewise, just isn’t weighty enough. Yes, any kind of cheating by the leader of a country, has wider consequences than simply pre-election scandal. But in countries where the actions of elected officials involve bribery and corruption on a much larger scale, Bush’s evasion of the military seems a little tame.
But then, perhaps my response indicates the very strength of Truth. In this movie we see just enough of the reporters’ working techniques to doubt the thoroughness of their investigative work. Likewise, we see just enough of the corresponding shut down of the story to question what really was the truth. How serious was the evidence? The question remains unanswered.
Truth opens at cinemas in South Africa on 10 June and is worthwhile viewing.