It seems that I’m the only one appreciating Robert Redford’s late-career performing resurgence. He was Oscar-worthy in J.C. Chandor’s fine “All Is Lost” in 2013. He then played a slimy villain the following year in MCU’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Redford will turn 80 in 2016, and he’s only been nominated for an acting Academy Award once (of course, he actually won one as director, of 1980’s “Ordinary People”), for 1973’s monster hit “The Sting”. And I’m calling foul, because he actually stole “Truth” from top-billed Cate Blanchett. Incidentally, she’s a two-time Academy Award recipient, as well as just about everyone’s “new Meryl Streep”. But I found Bobby riveting as Dan Rather in this film. He doesn’t look like him, and the screenplay definitely picks sides concerning the characterization of the television journalist. But Redford finds his humanity. It’s good stuff.

This was a huge story a little over a decade ago. CBS News ran a report on then United States President George W. Bush, in the midst of his 2004 re-election campaign. It spoke about findings that claimed Bush was given preferential treatment during his 1970’s stint in the Texas Air National Guard. W stood accused in the report of failing to meet minimal training requirements and often being absent from duty. Mary Mapes (a showy Ms. Blanchett), producer at the time of CBS’s 60 Minutes Wednesday, and national news anchor Dan Rather (an impressive Mr. Redford), became the driving forces of this aired allegation. But speculation rapidly focused on the story’s accuracy. And suddenly, instead of becoming the pin that would let the air out of a President’s re-election run, it transformed into the fireball that could destroy a network, as well the reputation of a respected, aging reporter.

Writer James Vanderbilt is now a first time feature director, and his lack of experience is showing. He can’t quite find the correct rhythm for this, his beats are always just a bit off, and his interesting screenplay is still just a tad self-righteous. He’s saved by the compelling story line though. And Blanchett is fun to watch, even when she’s overbearing, which she’s definitely guilty of falling into here. But it was Redford’s show, for me, the whole way. Quiet, exacting, just the right dollops of humor and gravitas–it’s the work of a man who’s exhibiting an extreme level of comfort in his craft. Stallone did that too, in the recently-released “Creed”. But Sylvester is being help up for a golden statue, while most everyone ignores one of out most legendary movie stars. See through his former glamour–RR is the real deal. He saves “Truth” with his honesty. Btw, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Bruce Greenwood play key roles. Fine performers all…I barely remember them. See it for the Sundance Kid.

Grade:  B-

next review up:  “The Look of Silence”


4 comments on “Truth

  1. Interesting review 🙂 Especially on the part of Redford’s resurgence. Woah, Cate Blanchett?! I love all her roles, but it seems this one isn’t so good.

  2. Always unfairly seen as just the pretty boy, the aging Redford is barely getting any notice for his acting resurgence. He deserves better. Bobby outshines Blanchett here.


  3. Hi Mark,

    I am Mollie’s friend of long standing.. (We don’t say “old friend” because it is too true). Am just wondering if I missed your review on 45 Years?

    Your reviews come on a separate site for me and I tried to look back but can’t find it. While I watched the film, I struggled not to let naptime interfere… it was soooo slow moving, BUT I have not been able to stop thinking about it since seeing it and would be so interested in your opinion.

    Spending the winter in south Florida is an experience and walking out of the theater, I was surrounded by disbelieving patrons, grumbling and unhappy. But after seeing it, I googled all the words to Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, the telling song (how could she permit that as her engagement song)? and it is haunting me. It speaks of lost love and portends what is to come in the 45 year marriage.

    I realize the slow pace was not accidental, but a fabulous picture of the banality of their life. The performances were brilliant and I wondered why the reviews didn’t talk about the predictive quality of the song so early in their relationship.

    But, I don’t want to spoil it in case you haven’t seen it, and if you have, please let me know how I can read your review. I enjoy reading them, and haven’t found many people who agree with me on the brilliance of this film. It wasn’t easy to watch, but for whatever reason, I can’t let it go.

    Thanks for your posts… when do you sleep? Gloria Fixell

    On Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 5:32 AM, Reviewed by Mark Leonard wrote:

    > reviewedbymarkleonard posted: ” It seems that I’m the only one > appreciating Robert Redford’s late-career performing resurgence. He was > Oscar-worthy in J.C. Chandor’s fine “All Is Lost” in 2013. He then played a > slimy villain the following year in MCU’s “Captain America: The Winter > Sold” >

    • Hello Gloria,

      So thankful for your support! I’ll tell you this…there is not a critic working that sees every single film that’s out there. There are too many. However, for four years running, I HAVE eventually reviewed every single Oscar nominated feature film. Every one, every category. This year, I am way ahead of the game. Except for the Foreign Film nominees (which have a very unusual general release schedule), I have seen EVERY 2015 nominee in every category. Except for three. Those 3 are, “The Hateful Eight”, “Youth”, and “45 Years”. But it’s coming! I will see it, and I will review it, and it will be on the site. Also…sleep is overrated. Thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: