I for one am happy that there are still people out there making films as strong and radical as this. Documentaries do it all the time; this one is a drama. Evaluated as a movie it doesn’t rate too high because it plays a bit like an op-ed piece.  But as analysis of how people can be fooled with a lie, it’s tops, and immensely relevant today.

The time is 15 years ago. The George W. Bush administration was looking for a response to the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Centres in New York. Somebody came up with the idea of attacking Iraq. (Apparently a long-held desire). But on what pretext? Sadaam Hussein who hated Osama Bin Laden wasn’t involved in 9-11. Weapons of Mass Destruction, said George Bush. He must be stopped from using them. The evidence was fake, but papers like The New York Times and Washington Post printed what the White House told them and war went ahead. All that is known. This film is about the reporters who didn’t buy the official line. They worked for a consortium of 31 Knight-Ridder newspapers. Rob Reiner is the bureau chief (he also directed) and James Marsden, Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones, as reporters, present and past, do the digging. They work their contacts, cultivate leads, get leaks and detail a massive deception going on. Some of their papers, it’s not clear how many, refused to run those stories.  The national mood was with Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush, all seen in actuality from the time and you hear some surprising names in the go-to-war vote. As drama it’s unsubtle and obvious. As a piece of protest journalism, it packs a punch. 

Read more here.