Jeremy Renner plays Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who cracked the CIA crack for contras story wide open. The exuberant first half, when the investigative legwork is done, shows Renner as a character cockier and more fiery than the measured Webb was. Once the story is broken though, and the landmark media organizations kick into overdrive to smear the story on orders from above, Renner stretches into a great performance. The whiteout takes a heavy toll on him, and Renner portrays the besieged man who knows he’s right well. Some amateurish directorial clichés mar the film to a degree, but Renner makes up for it if not by mimicking the real Webb, but wrenchingly showing what the twisting of truth into lies does to a man devoted to the facts.