I spent last summer stressed out beyond belief or insanely drunk to the point where it was inexcusable and thus this awesome seventeen minute short film slipped completely under my radar. Directed by Joe Lynch (Holliston, Cabin Fever 2) Truth In Journalism focuses on a reporter named Eddie Brock (played by Ryan Kwanten, True Blood) who was fired from his job at the Daily Bugle and now works as a journalist for the tabloid The Examiner. Set sometime during the mid-80s, the film is shot in the same style as the French cult hit Man Bites Dog. Eddie is followed around by a film crew who shoot his exploits. He is an amoral guy who doesn’t really care much about the value of human life and his dark deeds start to creep out his film crew. After they decide to turn down his offer to continue to film, Eddie reveals his true nature to them.
Comic book fans will instantly realize what is happening here. Produce Adi Shankar (Dredd, The Grey, Machine Gun Preacher) also helped make the 2012 Punisher short Dirty Laundry. Dirty Laundry was a cool fan made take on a classic anti-hero that did a great job with the character, and took it in a new direction. The same concept is applied here: take a classic anti-hero/villain and show them in a different way. Ryan Kwanten does a great job as the shady but charismatic reporter Eddie Brock. The retro black and white French style of it’s film-making help to make this short more fascinating than it probably really is. It also helps the film is littered with some great tracks from the 80’s that lend to authenticity that this was actually filmed in that era. It also helps that the subject of the film is one of my favorite comic book characters of all time: Venom.
We’ve seen Eddie Brock as a sociopath before, but seeing him with the symbiote and continuing his career as a journalist is something new. It’s a new twist, and a cool take on a classic character. And yes, its really borrowing liberally from Man Bites Dog, even going to so far as to have Brock’s group run afoul of another film crew that is documenting the exploits of another super-villain whose identity I will not spoil here. The only real issues with Truth in Journalism is that Eddie never refers to himself as “We”, as he does in the comic book. And the french subtitles and low-fi quality audio make understanding the dialogue difficult. You’ll want to watch this with the closed captioning option on. The transformation scene is terrifying at first until they finally show Venom. Then it looks rather silly, but it’s still a cool attempt and I understand the budget limitations. Kwanten though knocks it out of the park, and they did work in Eddie’s workout regimen into the film. Kwanten is amazing actor in anything he’s in and producer Adi Shankar is on point when he describes him as being the Daniel Bryan of Hollywood.
I’m hoping that Adi Shankar will put out some more films like this because quite frankly a different take on classic characters is very cool to me, and takes risks big-budget pictures wouldn’t because they have to palatable for the masses. And I understand the reasoning for these things as much as I resent them.
Give the film a watch, and let me know your thoughts on it. Enjoy!