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James Vanderbilt
Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss
Writing Credits:
James Vanderbilt

Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush's military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$875,935 on 1,122 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 2/2/2016

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director James Vanderbilt and Producers Brad Fischer and William Sherak
• Deleted Scenes
• “The Reason for Being” Featurette
• “The Team” Featurette
• Q&A with Writer/Director James Vanderbilt and Actors Cate Blanchett and Elisabeth Moss
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Truth [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 14, 2016)

40 years ago, Robert Redford starred in All the President’s Men, a movie that extolled the positives that come with investigative journalism. With 2015’s Truth, Redford finds himself in a tale that shows the ramifications of potentially flawed reporting.

Set during the 2004 presidential election, Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) operates as a producer on CBS’s 60 Minutes Wednesday and works closely with legendary anchorman Dan Rather (Redford). She gains access to documents that indicate President George W. Bush skirted his military duty and along with Rather, they run a TV story about the subject.

All seems well at first, but the tale quickly unravels. Aspects of the supporting materials may not be accurate, so Mapes and Rather face criticism and controversy that impacts their careers.

When it hit screens in the fall of 2015, Truth looked like one of those movies that would enjoy massive awards consideration. After all, it took on an “important” subject and came with cast chock full of notables.

Instead, Truth received a fairly tepid reaction. It got mostly good – but not great – reviews and failed to find much of an audience. No Oscar love resulted.

Nor did Truth deserve such praise, as the film offers a flawed affair. To my surprise, the two lead actors become part of the problem – especially Blanchett.

I think Blanchett is a terrifically talented actor, but that doesn’t mean she always hits the mark, and Truth seems like a misfire for her. Blanchett never seems able to handle an American accent, so her vocal intonations as Mapes feel phony. I get the impression Blanchett took her accent from American soap operas, and she simply always seems “off” in this area.

Blanchett also plays Mapes in such a broad manner that she fails to find her character. Blanchett feels like a parody of the “intrepid reporter” more than the real thing. I do like Blanchett, but she fizzles here.

Redford doesn’t do much better. Redford looks nothing like Rather, and he barely bothers to attempt Rather’s Texas accent. Really, he plays “Robert Redford, Screen Icon” and doesn’t broaden beyond that. I get that the filmmakers wanted an icon to play an icon, but I think the choice doesn’t work, as we never view Redford as anyone other than Redford.

More problems come from the movie’s one-sided tone. Partly based on Mapes’ memoirs, Truth often feels as though it exists to vindicate its heroine’s experiences. The film paints her as a persecuted seeker of the truth, not as someone who may have erred in the execution of her job.

That becomes a major flaw, especially as the story progresses. When Truth examines the team’s investigation, it provides a fairly interesting tale, but once it reaches the controversy related to alleged misreporting, it becomes much more about Mapes’ travails.

Am I wrong to find this to be intellectually dishonest and hypocritical? We focus on people who make a living exposing fraud but we’re supposed to feel sympathetic when the tables turn. This doesn’t compute.

I don’t want this to convey that I disapprove of investigative journalists, of course, as I respect the honest work done in that realm. But when mistakes occur, that’s the story, not the “cruelty” of those who allegedly seek to punish the investigators.

That’s a problem, as Truth concentrates on the wrong subject. The movie should look at what went wrong with the investigation and get to the heart of why a flawed story made the air.

Instead, it gives us a long apology for Mary Mapes, and a melodramatic one at that. The film prefers to lecture us on political corruption and paint its lead as an unjustly persecuted victim. It’s not an appealing take on the topic.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Truth appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a positive presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A hint of softness occasionally materialized, but the movie usually showed pretty good clarity. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Truth usually gave us an amber/orange-tinted palette. Other hues appeared – like a bit of teal at times - but the golden/orange feel dominated. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed reasonable smoothness and clarity. No real issues affected this appealing presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Truth, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up a bit on occasion. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for a chatty movie.

The disc comes with a mix of extras, and these launch with an audio commentary from writer/director James Vanderbilt and producers Brad Fischer and William Sherak. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, sets and shooting in Australia, story/character/script areas, cast and performances, cinematography and visual design, music, editing and related subjects.

Overall, this becomes a pretty solid chat. It comes with a few lulls, but those pale in comparison to the level of information covered. In particular, Vanderbilt shows a strong personality and helps turn this into a lively piece with many good details about the production.

Six Deleted Scenes total 12 minutes, 11 seconds. These mainly offer a little added exposition – and more lecturing/editorializing. A few good comedic moments result but nothing substantial appears here.

Two featurettes follow. The Reason for Being lasts 11 minutes, 32 seconds and includes comments from Mary Mapes, Dan Rather and actors Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett. They talk about the theme at the heart of Truth. It’s good to hear a little from the movie’s subjects, but the program feels largely self-serving.

Next comes The Team. It runs eight minutes, 43 seconds and includes Redford, Blanchett, Fischer, Vanderbilt, producers Brett Ratner and Andy Spaulding, and actors Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach and Dennis Quaid. The piece looks at script and characters as well as cast and performances. Most of the featurette feels fluffy and promotional, so not much substance emerges.

A Q&A with writer/director James Vanderbilt and actors Cate Blanchett and Elisabeth Moss fills 32 minutes, 59 seconds. They examine the source story and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, research, deleted scenes, and related areas. The three interact well and give us a good mix of thoughts, especially when Blanchett speaks; she proves to be charming and engaging in her moments.

The disc opens with ads for Infinitely Polar Bear, Irrational Man, Grandma, Labyrinth of Lies, The Lady in the Van and The Diary of a Teenage Girl. We also find the trailer for Truth.

In Truth, we find an interesting story, but the film treats it in a problematic manner. The movie seems one-sided and lacks the insight and subtlety necessary to make it a success, as it cares more about the exoneration of its protagonist than anything else. The Blu-ray provides very good picture as well as acceptable audio and supplements highlighted by an informative commentary. Truth remains moderately absorbing but doesn’t achieve its goals.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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