First Hit: Although not a great film, it was an amazing story and in the end, I really felt for the messenger.
This is the story about how the Reagan led administration allowed the CIA to promote selling drugs in the US to create cash to buy arms for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.
Congress wouldn’t support arming the Contras so the CIA decided to fund the war by getting Americans addicted to drugs. The irony of course is the Nancy Reagan “Say no to drugs” campaign. Even worse are the deaths of children and adults as a direct result of the CIA action.
Was Reagan in on this - my guess is probably and I "don't know". Jeremy Renner plays Gary Webb the San Jose Mercury News reporter that wrote and broke this story. It so inflamed the government, they called in all their chips with other news agencies and made Webb’s story seem false, unsubstantiated and inaccurate. How this affects his work life and home life are what this film is about.
Shamefully, as history tells us, the CIA’s confession years later didn’t land in the news like the stories made up and published against him. The story ends sadly and is a matter of public record. What it does point out is the criminal nature of our government in the name of stopping “the spread of communism” – yeah right.
Renner is strong as a reporter of integrity. I’m glad this story was told. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Webb’s editor was interesting and failed to trust her reporter. Rosemarie DeWitt as Gary’s wife Sue was superb. I so enjoyed her presence in the film. Lucas Hedges as oldest son Ian was sublime. Small and pivotal roles by Oliver Platt, Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta were wonderful. Peter Landesman wrote this script from Gary Webb’s own book and Nick Schou's book of the films’ name. Michael Questa adequately directed this film.
Overall: This was a great story and it saddens me that we cannot trust our government - still can't.