From the director of The Contender comes Nothing But the Truth, a horribly titled but surprisingly intriguing film about journalism ethics and national security. A fictional tale inspired by the Valerie Plame story, the movie stars Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda.
Beckinsale stars as Rachel Armstrong, a journalist who has stumbled across the largest story of her career. With valid sources, she has determined that one of her daughter's friend's mothers is a CIA agent, and by exposing this truth it establishes a devastating revelation about the President of the United States. But when the story is published, the government acts swiftly to discover who it was that revealed the identity of a CIA agent. A special prosecutor is assigned to the case and will stop at nothing to get Rachel to reveal her source, including locking her away in jail until she breaks down.
Nothing But the Truth is a simple film in many ways; much of it is spent indoors, and there is little outward emotional strength to the story. Yet, it works in spite, or in conjunction, with this approach. The movie is about the never-ending battle between journalism ethics and the law, and there are valid arguments for both sides. Nothing But the Truth does an exceptional job of presenting this battle, even if it is shown to the sentiment of the journalist. Dillon is the villain, and yet you can empathize with his position: if someone reveals the identity of an acting CIA agent, is that not treason? Should the government not have the right to contain the leak? And yet the press needs protection so that they can indeed operate free of government influence.
All of the actors involved turn in strong performances. Beckinsale shows once again that she's more than a pretty face, but it's a shame that this movie wasn't more heavily promoted so that moviegoers could see that. Dillon is also strong in what could have been a cliché role. Alda turns in a good but standard performance as Beckinsale's daughter.
While Nothing But the Truth is consistently captivating, the movie really works with thanks to the surprise ending. I won't go as far as to call it a twist ending, but the little surprise at the end really brings everything together in a perfect way.
Nothing But the Truth doesn't have the emotional power that it needed to compete with the big boys, but it's a well-made, well-acted drama that's worth seeing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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