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Stars: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, Dermot Mulroney, John Benjamin Hickey

Director: James Vanderbilt

A true-life drama about TV news reporters and their doomed efforts to show that then-president George W Bush joined the Texas National Guard, possibly to escape service in Vietnam, but never completed his dues there: it's a film that belongs in the same genre as All the President's Men, although this one, albeit decently done, is not in the same class.

The investigation, led by producer Mary Mapes (Blanchett) and CBS frontman Dan Rather (Redford, who also headlined President's Men), is immaculately researched but goes pear-shaped soon after transmission, with catastrophic consequences for its participants.

Although it has some killer moments towards the end, the film can't escape its own wordiness, verging on dullness here and there. But Blanchett is as good as ever, while Redford, less three-dimensional and a little old for his role, is also OK if a bit stiff. Mulroney is also of note as a leading light on the commission that grills Mapes towards the end of a film which, although set in the US, was made in Australia.

David Quinlan

Australia/USA 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by deluxe.
125 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 29 Feb 2016