Movie Review - Shock and Awe (2018)
Reiner also stars here as John Walcott, the bureau chief for the Knight Ridder News Service in Washington, DC. He oversees dozens of reporters. Two of those reporters are Warren Strobel, played by James Marsden (Hairspray and X-Men), and Jonathan Landay, played by Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The People vs. Larry Flynt). Strobel and Landay were in contact with sources within the government that were going against the mainstream talk, doubting that Iraq and Hussein were a threat on the level being purported.
Reiner structures his film similarly to Robert Redford's Lion for Lambs (2007) where you have people debating things academically while cutting to another parallel story line involving a soldier being pulled into the military and then sent to war. The soldier is Private First Class Adam Green, played by Luke Tennie. Unfortunately, the movie never delves into Adam, into what he's thinking and feeling or what he's experiencing internally. He's basically just a prop for this movie.
Like Steven Spielberg's The Post (2017), this movie seems to be about journalistic integrity and newspapers in a kind of tug-of-war. The conflict in question is peer pressure or group-think. Knight Ridder was alone in its coverage and had a deal that other papers would carry its stories. But, papers like the Philadelphia Inquirer refused to carry Knight Ridder's stories. The mainstream basically ignored these stories, which turned out to be true, thus proving why it's important for the news media to challenge the government and be the Fourth Estate to check it.
Rated R for language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.
Available on DVD and VOD.