2008 - United States - 108 minutes
Director and Writer - Rod Lurie
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.6/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars

Rod Lurie has written and directed an excellent morality tale, political thriller, and mystery all rolled into one. Rachel Armstrong is a reporter for a Washington, DC daily who has uncovered corruption within the White House related to an assassination attempt upon the President. The Venezuelan dictator has been accused of organizing the attempt and his government has been attacked by the United States. Rachel has discovered that a CIA operative - who coincidently is the mother of her son’s classmate - handed in a report that the Venezuelan dictator had nothing to do with the attempt. The White House ignored this report and attacked Venezuela for its own political motives.

When the story is published, the exposed operative, Erica Van Doren, and Rachel are put in the national spotlight. Almost immediately, a special prosecutor is assigned to discover who leaked the information about the report. Rachel refuses to disclose her source and, as a result, is jailed. The contention is that non-disclosure is a threat to national security.

Meanwhile, the Erica’s life is thrown into chaos as her estranged husband is a famous author who has written criticisms of the current administration. She, of course, is suspected of disclosing confidential information to her husband.

Superior acting and directing turns what could have been a run of the mill tale into a fascinating examination of characters - none of which are either all good or all bad.

Rachel, played by Kate Beckinsale, is probably the most complex character in the piece. As Rachel, she offers us a woman who starts out almost starry eyed who has fallen upon this nation shattering story. As the film progresses, Beckinsale gives us an extremely principled woman who sacrifices enormously for her moral values.

Vera Farmiga portrays a tough as nails CIA operative who has an extremely vulnerable side as a loving mother. She is really good in this part.

Surrounding Rachel are her husband played by David Schwimmer, her lawyers played by Noah Wyle and Alan Alda, and the prosecutor played by Matt Dillon. I generally don’t tend to like the characters that David Schwimmer plays, but he gives a very good performance as Rachel’s somewhat selfish husband whose life is turned upside down by his wife’s decision. Noah Wyle is strong and forthright as the newspaper’s lawyer, and Alan Alda is perfection as the famous lawyer hired to marshal the case - seriousness with that little touch of Alda humor. Probably the most surprising to me is Matt Dillon as the very sharp prosecutor. This is a different kind of part for Dillon, but he really gives us a good view of a man devoted to his cause who still has room for a heart.

This film gives the viewer an opportunity to examine both sides of a complex situation and brings us to admire a woman who sacrifices almost everything for the sake of her principles. That sacrifice becomes even more apparent when - at the very end of the film - the audience is rewarded with the identification of the original source of the scandal. Nothing But the Truth leaves you with many questions and principles to contemplate.

Neil Turner
May 1, 2009

Nothing But the Truth