Directed By: James Vanderbilt

Starring: Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, and Elisabeth Moss

As much as the right wing tries to put every single one of our nation's woes on President Obama (and his liberal media), everyone has to admit that his direct predecessor George W. Bush left the United States FUBAR.  The Iraq War.  Hurricane Katrina.  Scooter Libby.  The Great Recession.  The list goes on and on. Yes, Bush 43 has plenty of failures.  Even Republican presidential contender Donald Trump has said so.  One area in which Bush unfortunately did not fail was the Electoral College.  More specifically, he prevailed in the 2004 election and coined the term "Swiftboating" in the process by slamming opponent John Kerry's service record.  Some notable journalists of CBS News, however, tried to make it clear that Bush shouldn't have thrown stones from a house that very well could be made of glass.

As President Bush faces reelection with Kerry as his opponent, military service becomes a political weapon on the campaign trail.  CBS News producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) intends to throw her anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and their primetime news program 60 Minutes Wednesday into the fray.  Mary plans to tell the nation that its president went AWOL during his tenure with the Texas Air National Guard.  With the help of her crew Mike Smith (Topher Grace), Colonel Roger Charles (Dennis Quaid), and Lucy Scott (Elisabeth Moss), she intends to break this news to the world.  She just needs sufficient proof to put this on the air.

When Mary does find this proof and her broadcast on Bush's service goes live, a political whirlwind ensues.  After all, the CBS News team has effectively poked the bear, and that bear has all the tools in the free world not only to sway public opinion but to change the conversation altogether.  Suddenly, Mary, Dan, and the team find themselves facing questions from all sides.  The questions focus more on the process of arriving at the news broken on that fateful night rather than the news itself.  The climate becomes so vitriolic that even news division president Andrew Heyward (Bruce Greenwood) gets in the mix.  The story is heavily reliant on testimony from veteran Bill Burkett (Stacy Keach), and many of the questions the group faces are all about their source.  As the whirlwind proceeds, these questions threaten to take down all their careers.

Many of my fellow counterparts are blasting Truth for picking a political side and leaning definitively in favor of Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, and the good folks behind 60 Minutes.  Many feel that the film loses any notion of objectivity whatsoever.  They do so by referring to the film as insufficiently nuanced, as something that fails to address all layers as they see it.  Well, I beg to differ.  There's no such thing as objectivity in cinema.  Filmmakers have a responsibility to represent the world as they see, especially when tackling nonfiction.  After all, history is always from the perspective of the person who tells it.  With this in mind, director James Vanderbilt uses Truth to tell the CBS News tale as he sees it.  In the process, he tells us all about how we as a society are too focused on the process of arriving at facts as opposed to the facts themselves.

There's another film about the trials of the 60 Minutes team that I consider to be the gold standard of news-themed movies.  If you know me well, you know that this film is none other than Michael Mann's The Insider.  That film is the standard to which I hold James Vanderbilt's Truth.  While I don't agree with what other critics are saying about the political thriller, I can't say that it measures up to my standard.  The film does feature solid performances from an impressive cast.  That being said, the film lacks that spark of movie magic needed to fully immerse us in this important tale about the Bush White House and the complicity of the mainstream media.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's nothing else to reel us in beyond the performances.

The cast is delivering the best they can here in Truth.  First and foremost, there's no one more suited to portray the ultimate newsman Dan Rather than screen legend Robert Redford.  With his old school charisma, he delights in the role as this iconic fatherly figure for the news crew.  For her part as Mary Mapes, Cate Blanchett gives us a fighter.  Popping Xanax pills once again, the Blue Jasmine star rises to the challenge as her character faces insurmountable odds in the court of public opinion.  Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Elisabeth Moss deliver enjoyable performances as Mapes's fellow CBS News crew members.

is a film that does what it's supposed to do, though it could have been so much more.  This is an incredible story that doesn't fully come to life.  Truth gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Pinot Grigio with this one.