Truth (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 29, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Truth”, as like most political thrillers, the film is no doubt subject to the individual. And if you have strong liberal or conservative ideals, one will either love or despise this film. But the fact is that the crew of “Truth” had a goal in mind with this film and that was to create dialogue and give the viewer a chance to make their own decision about the film. “Truth” is a film worth checking out!
Image courtesy of © RatPac Truth, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 102 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Audio Description Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: R (Language and a Brief Nude Photo)
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Based on the book by Mary Mapes
Directed by James Vanderbilt
Screenplay by James Vanderbilt
Executive Producers: Antonia Barnard, Mikkel Bondesen, James Packer, Steven Silver, Neil Tabatznik
Produced by Brad Fischer, Doug Mankoff, Brett Ratner, William Sherak, Andrw Spaulding, James Vanderbilt
Co-Producer: Martin Cohen, Alaric McAusland
Music by Brian Tyler
Cinematography by Mandy Walker
Edited by Richard Francis-Bruce
Casting by Niki Barrett, John Papsidera
Production Design by Fiona Crombie
Art Direction by Fiona Donovan
Set Decoration by Glen W. Johnson
Costume Design by Amanda Neale
Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes
Robert Redford as Dan Rather
Topher Grace as Mike Smith
Dennis Quaid as Lt. Colonel Roger Charles
Elisabeth Moss as Lucy Scott
Bruce Greenwood as Andrew Heyward
Stacy Keach as Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett
John Benjamin Hickey as Mark Wroistad
David Lyons as Josh Howard
Dermot Mulroney as Lawrence Lanpher
Rachael Blake as Betsy West
Andrew McFarlane as Dick Hibey
Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett star in TRUTH, based on a riveting true story of one of network news’ biggest scandals. As a renowned producer and close associate of Dan Rather (Redford), Mary Mapes (Blanchett) believes she’s broken the biggest story of the 2004 election: revelations of a sitting U.S. President’s military service. But when allegations come pouring in, sources change their stories, document authenticity is questioned, and the casualties begin to mount. This dramatic thriller goes behind the scenes to expose the intricacies of journalistic integrity and what it takes to reveal the TRUTH.
From James Vanderbilt, the writer of the first two “The Amazing Spider-Man” films, “White House Down”, “Zodiac” and “The Losers”, comes his directorial debut with the an American political docudrama titled “Truth”.
Based on American journalist and television news producer Mary Mapes’ memoir “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power”, the drama focuses on the controversial Killian documents controversy which took place months before the 2004 presidential election and asserted that in the early 1970’s, President George W. Bush received preferential treatment from officials of the Texas Air National Guard.
During the research of the documents, producer Mary Mapes and news anchor Dan Rather reported the news, which immediately received criticism and also allegations which were called into question and would subsequently lead to the firing of Mary Mapes, the resignation of Dan Rather and others for CBS News losing their jobs.
The film would star Cate Blanchett (“Lord of the Rings” films, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Robert Redford (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “The Sting”, “All the President’s Men”), Topher Grace (“That ’70s Show”, “Spider-Man 3”, “Interstellar”), Dennis Quaid (“The Day After Tomorrow”, “Frequency”, “Vantage Point”), Elisabeth Moss (“Madmen”, “Girl, Interrupted”, “Get Him to the Greek”), Bruce Greenwood (“Stark Trek”, “I, Robot”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”), David Lyons, John Benjamin Hickey (“Transformers: Re”Flags of Our Fathers”, “The Bone Collector”, “Pelham 123”) and Stacy Keach (“Nebraska”, “The Bourne Legacy”, “American History X”).
And now “Truth” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
“Truth” focuses on the “60 Minutes Wednesday” news crew which includes producer Mary Mapes (portrayed by Cate Blanchett) and CBS national news anchor Dan Rather (portrayed by Robert Redford).
As the crew is known for their award-winning journalism, months before the US 2004 Presidential election, with President George W. Bush seeking re-election, the crew which also includes Kt. Colonel Roger Charles (portrayed by Dennis Quaid), Mike Smith (portrayed by Topher Grace) and Lucy Scott (portrayed by Elisabeth Moss) are researching their next big story.
CBS News producer Mary Mapes obtained copies from Lt. Col. Burkett, a former officer in the Texas Army National Guard, that President George W. Bush had received preferential treatment in the early ’70s by the Texas Air National Guard. Allegations which include concealing Bush’s failure to meet minimal training and performing requirements, in addition to being absent from the Air Guard for most of 1972 following a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard.
The papers were made by Bush’s commander, the late Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killiam who criticized Bush’s service.
As Mapes and her crew did their research and felt they did all the work they needed to do on this story, they went public with Dan Rather reporting on the breaking news story.
But immediately, a variety of sources questioned the Killian documents and that they were not real but forgeries. The memos were scrutinized and that they were not created by a typewriter but on Microsoft Word, thus invalidating the documents.
How would Mary Mapes, Dan Rather and their team react to the scrutiny in regards to their research?
What is the truth?
“Truth” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film looks absolutely wonderful in HD as skin tones are natural, close-ups show very good detail. With a good mix of indoor and outdoor shots, the scenes are well-lit and outdoor scenes are vibrant. I didn’t notice any artifacts or banding during my viewing of the film.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Truth” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue and music score driven with surround channels more geared towards the news room ambiance. But overall audio is crystal clear.
Subtitles are in English and English SDH..
“Truth” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Audio commentary with director James Vanderbilt, Brad Fischer and William Sherak.
- Deleted Scenes – (12:11) Featuring six deleted scenes.
- The Reason for Being – (11:32) Dan Rather and Mary Mapes discuss their experience of what transpired and “the definition of truth”.
- The Team – (8:44) The cast discuss working on “Truth”.
- Q&A with Cate Blanchett, Elisabeth Moss and Director/Writer James Vanderbilt – (33:00) Jenelle Riley interviews director/writer James Vanderbilt, actress Cate Blanchett and Elisabeth Moss.
- Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Truth”.
“Truth” comes with a slipcover and Ultraviolet code.
“Truth” is a fascinating, yet controversial thriller about what transpired in 2004 with the CBS news crew.
One of the well-known media news faux pas in modern times, “Truth” is a gripping film that is based on the memoir of fired CBS news producer Mary Mapes and CBS News anchor Dan Rather and with their sources, going through with a potentially election damaging news report about President George W. Bush going AWOL from the Texas Army National Guard.
The film does not skirt around the subject that Mapes and her crew did not thoroughly have the documents authenticated, but at the same time, with the number of sources they had, it was unfortunate because the crew and the senior news executives have had wonderful success in their careers prior to the uncovering of the Killian documents.
Which brings me to how I felt about “Truth”. As I tried to put myself on both sides and playing devil’s advocate, my first thought was if you were going after the President of the United States, one should make sure they have all the facts needed before going public.
I felt that the lack of authentication is no doubt the primary issue and for media professionals, it was a grave error and with media and bloggers coming out to disprove the report, because of CBS News’ involvement, it was a problem that was too big to fix and it doesn’t help that this was exposed before the election. Mary Mapes was terminated. Executive Producer Josh Howard and Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy resigned and Dan Rather apologized and stepped down.
But at the same time, I felt that Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and her crew stood for what they believed in and believed that while the documents turned out to be false, the underlying story is true.
With that being said, I understand CBS’ position in the matter and how CBS chief spokeman Gil Schwartz felt that “the film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom” (“Fortune” Magazine, October 16, 2015).
As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality was very good and the lossless soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and musical score. There are interesting featurettes included such as the real Mary Mapes and Dan Rather discussing the pursuit of “truth”, interviews with the cast members and there is also an informative Q&A session plus audio commentary included as well.
“Truth”, as like most political thrillers, the film is no doubt subject to the individual. And if you have strong liberal or conservative ideals, one will either love or despise this film. But the fact is that the crew of “Truth” had a goal in mind with this film and that was to create dialogue and give the viewer a chance to make their own decision about the film.
“Truth” is a film worth checking out!
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