There are two separate elements to Truth, a drama which tells the true story of a group of journalists investigating George W. Bush’s military service history in 2004, that remind you of the much better films that this fails to live up to. The first is Robert Redford whose presence here as CBS anchorman Dan Rother, is a constant reminder of the classic and much more accomplished journalistic thriller, All The Presidents Men.
The second reminder comes in a sequence where Cate Blanchett’s Mary Mapes and her team of helpers watch a television report that calls into question the validity of documents used in their investigation. For a brief moment the Boston Globe newspaper appears on screen, the paper which, coincidentally, is at the heart of this year’s Oscar-winning drama, Spotlight.
When you compare the two films, Truth could be best described as the ‘anti-Spotlight’. This self-conscious and overly-theatrical take on a true story takes everything Spotlight did so well and does the reverse. Whilst Spotlight tells a hugely important story in a very real, very nuanced and very thrilling way, Truth tells a story which doesn’t really feel important at all in a very dramatic and very obvious way.
The performances across the board feel self-aware and hammy, and it’s always a shame to see such talented performers such as Cate Blanchett put in awful turns like this. The terrible acting feels like a direct result of the way in which this story has been mishandled. It’s all well and good to have big speeches and a sweeping soundtrack, but it doesn’t count for much when the story itself feels unimportant and irrelevant.
Whilst there are certainly glimmers of a fascinating story in there somewhere, the truth of the matter is that Truth just isn’t very good at all.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com