*** out of ****
In 2004 the CBS news magazine television show 60 Minutes aired a story indicating that then-President George W. Bush lied about his military service. After the broadcast, the story began to fall apart – the validity of the main source as well as documents came into question – and the resulting firestorm severely damaged the careers of both anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett).
Director James Vanderbilt's movie is based on Mapes book, so it's clearly one-sided, but that doesn't stop it from being a highly riveting feature. This is a good film, if a bit flawed. There are a few didactic speeches, like when story researcher Mike Smith (Topher Grace) passionately talks about the link between Viacom – the company that owns 60 Minutes – and its political views. And the musical score by Brian Tyler, while good music, is often overstated, especially how it's cued up at the end of dramatic moments.
Many side characters (Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid) come and go and disappear for long periods, but it's the professional relationship between Mapes and Rather that is the primary focus here. We see how these two people believe in each other and will honorably stand up for the other person. Blanchett's intense performance is phenomenal, and in Redford's case – having an icon play and icon – it works.
Whether you think Truth is a bunch of phooey or not, it's still an enthralling examination of the pitfalls of television journalism.