A reporter attempts to get a good interview from a presidential candidate as a military offensive begins in Afghanistan. Janine Roth is a TV news journalist during a time in which the media is changing. Roth's channel has been bought by a large corporation with their own potential interests, and she is concerned that her stories will be manipulated to meet the interests of the owners. She gets an invitation for Senator Jasper Irving, a conservative Presidential hopeful, to come and do an hour-long interview with him. Her ideology clashes with his, but she still wants to take advantage of the opportunity, hoping that she is not being used as propaganda for his campaign, but rather that they will be able to have open discourse about their disagreements. Simultaneously, on the West Coast, a professor named Dr. Malley calls in one of his students, Todd Hayes. Part of Malley's class is graded upon the student's initiative to go out into the world and do something important that will make a difference. Lately, while Hayes is a very smart young man, he has been showing up less frequently and seems far less interested with the assignments. Hayes rants to Malley about how hopeless the American political system has become, and he feels no good can come from trying to make a difference as the whole system is locked into a state of corruption that is impossible to break. Malley tells Hayes about two other students that took the assignment seriously and have gone out to make a difference-- Arian and Ernest, both minority students given far less from birth than Hayes was given, who after graduation decided to sign up for the army to fight in Afghanistan. We follow Arian and Ernest as they deploy. However, when their helicopter is hit by Taliban attack, Ernest falls out and breaks his leg. Arian can't let his friend die, so he follows suit, jumping out to try and protect him. At the TV interview, Irving tell Roth that if she gives him sympathetic coverage, he will give her the exclusive rights to announcing a new strategy of attack in Afghanistan-- the very attack that Arian and Ernest are a part of. Roth is resistant, but the interview airs without her challenging questions, becoming the propaganda she feared. Meanwhile, Malley's pride over Arian and Ernest can't convince Hayes to make a difference in the world-- he opts for a lower grade and putting the rest of the world out of mind, preferring alcohol, video games, and college girls. As the Taliban close in, Arian and Ernest stand by one another and get shot to death. When it's reported back at home, it barely makes the news, scrolling on the bottom of the screen as celebrity gossip stories remain the focus of American media.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's definitely thought-provoking, but unfortunately it's too talk-heavy to be an effective movie-- it probably would have made a better play.
Best scene in story:
Roth's interview with Irving showcases two terrific actors-- Streep and Cruise-- showing down in a battle of wits. Any fan of acting will enjoy the interview.
Opinion about the main character:
Roth is idealistic, almost to a fault. One can't help but feel bad for the moral compromises she's forced to make, but one also wonders if maybe she's in the wrong line of work.