Nothing But the Truth (2008)

Drama, Thriller
Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Angela Bassett, Alan Alda
In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source.
A well-crafted political thriller, Nothing But the Truth features a strong cast that helps the real-life drama make an effortless transition to the big screen.
  • Yari Film Group Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 29 Jul 2009 Released:
  • 28 Apr 2009 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:

Trailer:

Intelligently written. Potent performances. Superlatively gripping story.10/10
Anytime I see a project that has Rod Lurie attached, I can't get to a screening fast enough. His writing is always intelligent, decisive, thought provoking, timely and topical, with a story that embraces integrity, ethics, morals and social conscience. His direction is always with military crispness, sharp and clean. His casting choices are impeccable and his characters well crafted, multi-textural, fractured human beings that have a fire about them that draws one as a viewer ever deeper into the story and the film. Lurie now attains even greater heights with the riveting NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. Championing justice and the high price of integrity, conviction and principle, he takes a page from today's headlines and makes it his own with a story involving a top notch journalist and an exposed undercover CIA operative and the the fight to protect not only a source but the values of motherhood, family, privacy and the right to know.

Kate Beckinsale is mesmerizing as Rachel Armstrong. A physically demanding role given the intense prison sequences, her physicality pales in comparison to the emotional intensity and strength she puts forth on screen. Like a caged animal, she calculates every move, every action, every reaction with an internal ferocity that ignites every scene. Equally amazing is Vera Farmiga as Erica Van Doren. Having just seen Farmiga as a devoted loving WWII mother in "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas", I was blown away by her tough as nails, hard core performance as Van Doren which she balanced with a carefully toned maternal edge; an act equaling that of Beckinsale's maternal double edged sword.

As if the women aren't reason enough to be on the edge of your seat with Lurie's taut script, enter Noah Wylie, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda. Noah Wylie was a surprise casting choice as Avril Aaronson but he is a completely neurotic firey self-involved frenetic attorney - to a tee. But then toss in a little taste of a legal oil slick in the form of Matt Dillon as prosecutor Patton Dubois and the ante is upped exponentially. As Dubois, Dillon brings new levels of arrogance and self-importance to the perception of attorneys (and trust me, many are very arrogant) which sparks dynamic chemistry between he and Beckinsale. And then there's Alan Alda. Always a welcome addition to any film, and particularly a Rod Lurie film, Alda is the voice of reason, the conscience of the film. He gives reasoned voice to the character of Rachel and never moreso than in one of the most impassioned and empowered monologues addressing the Supreme Court. That exquisitely written argument and Alda's delivery is phenomenal. It is the social conscience and fundamental essence of the film. Powerful and priceless, it's eloquence defies description.

Lurie himself even says, "I think Kate is just fantastic in the film, as is Vera and Alan. " A real coup was the casting of one of the seminal First Amendment attorneys in the United States, Floyd Abrams, who stepped in not only to play Judge Hall, but he also served as technical adviser on the film. Sometimes he would stop in the middle of the shoot and say 'this is wrong' to which Lurie would tell him, 'You're playing it, play it right." The meticulous detail of the written structure is equaled by Lurie's fine tuned direction. Metaphorically addressing the issues of the film through light and texture, the visual aspect of the film is as interesting as the dialogue. What strikes me most, however, is the intricately woven clues that lead up to the surprise climactic ending where we finally do learn the answers to Rachel's personal convictions. It will blow your mind.

Intelligently written. Potent performances. Superlative gripping story. A principled film that speaks soberly and passionately about standing up for one principles; be it a soccer mom, CIA agent or reporter. When all is said and done there is NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

Written and directed by Rod Lurie.

For my complete review of the film and interviews with Rod Lurie and Kate Beckinsale, go to www.moviesharkdeblore.com
Watch it!9/10
I saw this film at a press screening last weekend. Wow! What an achievement. This story is masterfully executed, creating a lyrical and deeply affecting empathy with the film's lead character, played with Oscar-worthy precision and nuance by Kate Beckinsale. This film is truly about something, which isn't as common as I think we'd hope with movies. It has truly meaningful themes that are dramatized in an entertaining, emotional and often eloquent way. The acting is top-notch. The direction is confident.

I don't want to say much about the plot because it has some nice twists and touching moments that come from the organic development of the characters' relationships, their conflicts and their fight for what they believe in. This film is about principle. This film unapologetically stands for the power of our word and the example we set for our children. It's a must-see this Holiday season. It may only have a limited release due to complications experienced by its distributor, so get out now and see it! Don't just wait for DVD. This one is an outstanding experience in the presence of others because in many ways it's about what unites us when we believe in ourselves and the integrity of other.
A powerful film...8/10
I first heard about this film because of Matt Dillon, one of my favourite actors. He is the second billing in this film, right behind Kate Beckinsale, also starring Vera Farmiga, Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, and David Schwimmer.

The film is about Rachel Armstrong, a reporter (Beckinsale) who has written the story of her life: a military coup by the United States on a South American country was a lie, a Watergate, an operation that could get a president impeached. One CIA agent (Farmiga) had been there before the attack and had reported that there was no need to attack. They attacked anyway, and through a number of sources, Armstrong succeeds in finding the story. When the paper hits, the government realizes that they must find out the original source of Armstrong. Hired to find out this story is Patton Dupois (Matt Dillon), who goes after Armstrong with a ruthless but aloof determination. She is held in contempt of court when she refuses to reveal her source, and she is put in jail. Armstrong's boss (Bassett) and her lawyer (Alda) urges her to keep up the stand she has taken, while her husband (Schwimmer) is angry that she has done this. She herself must cope with the consequences of taking on the government, and the pressure just lays on throughout the story.

Beckinsale keeps the story going easily with her brilliant performance. The story is of course, focused on her, and the effect of imprisonment and interrogation can be seen on her face when she sees her son through the glass of visiting hours, or when Dupois questions her in court. Matt Dillon is also a brilliant actor, and I hope the two of them get nominated this year. However, while Dillon deserves it, I think Alda will end up with the nomination, who is both witty and cynical throughout the court battles.

The film's true strength comes from the fact that it is not a true Hollywood film. There is a tone about it that is certainly not like a usual story like this. The characters are dark, but also with redeeming qualities. Schwimmer's character of the husband does hurtful things, but out of weakness rather than malice. Dillon's character is ruthless in his prosecution, but in truth, he is just doing his job well. Even Beckinsale's character is not the underdog hero that this film could have been about. Thankfully, this movie takes a different route.

It was a real enjoyment seeing this film. Dillon shines as he usually has when I've seen him, and so do Beckinsale and Farmiga. The only over-the-top character is that of Avril Aaronson, played by Noah Wyle, and is thankfully overshadowed by the good performances of those who carry the film.
Solid Movie That Could Have Been Very Good...6/10
until the ending, which exposes this film as another piece of Hollywood propaganda. We have seen these types of films countless times, but this one is done extremely well.

All of the actors deliver top-notch performances, and the script is good. The movie, while slowly paced, is still entertaining and works on many levels --as a mystery and as political commentary.

So why am I giving this film only a 6/10? Well,

--- SPOILER ----

The ending completely ruins this film and makes Beckinsale's character a martyr. Why would a reporter so fiercely protect her "source" when the government would not be able (and would not want to) prosecute a child? It makes no sense for Beckinsale to go to the lengths that she does - ruining her family and Farmiga's - to shield a child who, when exposed, would never be made public or legally held liable anyway!

--- END of SPOILER ---

If not for the ridiculous reasoning behind Beckinsale's reluctance to divulge her "source," this could have been a very good, if not great, movie. However, because her character is an imbecile, I cannot deem this film as much more than political propaganda based on a horribly flawed (almost humorously bad) premise.
The kind of intelligent movie Hollywood rarely makes anymore9/10
This was shown last night at the Toronto International Film Festival and was very well received. It is a beautifully acted, deftly written examination of the tension between freedom of the press and the power of the state, based very loosely on the Valerie Plame case. The fact that writer and director Rod Lurie spent 13 years in the newspaper business is evident throughout, making for one of the most compelling and believable portrayals of what it is like to be a political reporter for a major newspaper since All the President's Men. Kate Beckinsale (the reporter) and Vera Farmiga (as the CIA operative) are outstanding and each delivers an Oscar-worthy performance. Matt Dillon gives one of his best performances as the smarmy, ambitious and self-righteous prosecuting attorney. David Schwimmer, an odd casting choice, does a fine job within a fairly narrow range. Surprisingly, I even enjoyed Alan Alda's performance as a high-powered, rather cynical and self-obsessed Washington lawyer, hired to defend the beleaguered reporter. But the two women really steal the show.

There was much discussion in our group about the ending and whether it enhanced or undercut the basic message of the film. No point in spoiling it here, but I can assure you it will provoke debate.