Movie review: Kill the Messenger


Kill the Messenger is a story of how CIA funded its operations in Nicaragua. CIA felt the need to conduct operations in Nicaragua because they couldn’t risk having a country which had a government that looked after the interests of its own people, instead of the USA’s- or so Chomsky says.

Is Nicaragua really that important? What does the USA care about such a small country? Well, “one rotten apple spoils the entire barrel”, seems to be the motto of CIA. They had to stub this menace of democratically elected governments, they didn’t want one example to lead to another, they had to unleash a reign of terror so that those left behind started voting according to the wishes of the CIA and for the candidates of the CIA. The CIA had the Contras do the terrorizing of the local populations on their behalf.

They needed funds to maintain the Contras. The Congress said no to funding, not out of any human decency or moral outrage, but for domestic political reasons. They just didn’t want to back the President, kind of how every move of Obama’s gets blocked by the present-day Congress. So the CIA, the clandestine executive office of the American executive (executive as in legislature-judiciary-executive), got down to do what it did best- drug trafficking. Black neighborhoods of downtown LA and other parts of the country were turned into markets for the drugs produced by the Contras. The CIA took care of the logistics. They were the FedEx, the DTDC. Drugs traveled in one direction, money and guns the other.

A journalist named Gary Webb, working for a small time local paper, got a lucky break and came to know about this. Rookie that he was, he didn’t have the wisdom of his more accomplished and experienced colleagues- who chose to not notice the story. He was too naive to realize some stories were just “too true to tell.” Forget the baloney about free speech and free press, only those stories are allowed which fit into a particular band in the spectrum of truth. Even debates take place within this sanctioned band of truth- or so Chomsky says.

Long story short, Gary Webb was discredited, his own paper disowned him, and he lost everything. Few years later, CIA had the gall to admit that he was in fact speaking the truth, but by then the news cycle had moved on and no one picked up on the confession (why would they?).

The movie covers all of this and yet isn’t as thrilling as it should be. Maybe the CIA had a hand in choosing the director and making sure it didn’t turn out to be something really good. I am just kidding.

There’s no reason why such a movie should have the services of two great ladies like Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosemarie DeWitt, but there they are. They don’t have meaty roles and the movie doesn’t pass the Bechdel test for obvious reasons and yet, what were they doing in it? Did the CIA want to distract us? I am just kidding.

As for Jeremy Renner, he’s not going to get his third academy award nomination for this (if you think, you can easily guess the other two. See, didn’t I tell you?), but his hair looks pristine. Me envious.

PS: If I am coming across as a tin foil wearing conspiracy theorist at this point of time, that’s the modus operandi of the CIA, man. Any one who finds faults with this whole military-industrial complex is immediately branded a loon by your conditioned mind. But that’s for good reason, man. Who in their healthy mind would want to stand up against an all-powerful entity? It’s best to go along and reap benefits, man. That’s what a rational person would do anyhow. This standing up for truth business is a mental illness. It’s unnecessarily jeopardizing your prospects. It’s fine in sports, since sports don’t matter. But don’t bring that attitude into real life. But you knew that already. Or rather, you didn’t even think about it, and that’s just great, man. Keep rocking, man. Your boss seems to be calling you, bye!


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