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SYNOPSIS: Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush's military service, asserting he had exploited family connections and political privilege as well as failing his military obligations. But after the story breaks, it is no longer George W. Bush's service record that is under scrutiny, but the integrity of 60 Minutes News producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) and CBS News anchor Dan Rather (Robert Redford).

Review by Louise Keller:
Moral integrity is the focus of this enthralling drama in which politics, power and corruption battle against truth. Adapted from Mary Mapes' book Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, the President, and the Privilege of Power, first time director James Vanderbilt has made an arresting, intelligent and thought provoking film that explores the changing face of journalism in a world of big business and political clout. Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford head a wonderful cast, portraying the key players in a high profile expose that digs deep into the annals of investigative journalism as it offers a fascinating insight.

Blanchett is at her best as the 60 Minutes producer driven by the search for truth. The fact that Blanchett manages to make Mapes human and vulnerable, in the face of her high-powered role, allows us to totally engage with her. She might call the shots as she moulds and crafts her story, but she counts on the relationships that are built up through trust. Such a relationship is that between Mapes and Dan Rather (Redford): one based on mutual respect and understanding. Her painful personal relationship with her father comes into play and the fact that her stories have a common recurring theme about people who abuse power, does not escape us.

As the trusted face of the news, invited into homes for 24 years, Redford is perfectly cast. When asked what got him into journalism, Rather answers simply with one word: Curiosity. That's everything, he adds. The story also canvasses other relationships - that between Mapes and CBS executives, the Independent Investigation team (Dermot Mulroney is especially good) and the lawyer she engages to defend her (Andrew McFarlane, terrific). There's also a comfortable relationship between Mapes and her husband (Conor Burke), who is supportive in an intimate way - someone who knows her and what makes her tick.

The revelations are all in how the story plays out - in the middle of George W. Bush's 2004 US election campaign against John Kerry. Along with Mapes, we follow the paper trail and the sources that substantiate the facts of Bush's exploited connections, his controversial appointment to the Texas Air National Guard and failure of duty. The detail and how the various witnesses corroborate the story, followed by retractions and the subsequent events make for fascinating viewing. Shot in Sydney by cinematographer Mandy Walker, it's a ripper of a story - and one whose ramifications terrify in every sense.

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(Aust, US, 2015)

CAST: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Greenwood, Elizabeth Moss, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Blake

PRODUCER: Brad Fischer, Doug Mankoff, Brett Ratner, William Sherak, Andrew Spaulding

DIRECTOR: James Vanderbilt

SCRIPT: James Vanderbilt (Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, the President, and the Privilege of Power)


EDITOR: Richard Francis-Bruce

MUSIC: Brian Tyler


RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 3, 2015

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