Movie Review: Nothing But the Truth (2008)

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon and Vera Farmiga

Directed by: Rod Lurie

D.C. political columnist releases a story from a confidential source that the president ignored reports from a CIA operative when ordering strikes against Venezuela. The Government moves swiftly to stamp out the information leak but when the journalist refuses to reveal her source she’s jailed for contempt which opens up a national security vs first amendment battle.

Nothing But the Truth has an extremely talented cast and all involved put in great performances for different reasons. With big names such as Kate Beckinsale, Vera Farmiga, Matt Dillon and David Schwimmer taking centre stage with a glorious performance from supporting cast member Alan Alda, this political drama gets you hooked until the very end while making you ponder what you would do if in a similar situation.

Kate Beckinsale leads as Rachel Armstrong, a political news reporter who discovers that the president ignored a report from a covert CIA agent that Venezuela were not behind the attacks on America as the United States took action against the South Americans. She had an unnamed source that divulged the information and Rachel was determined to keep the identity of the Government leak confidential and hidden. The White House sends in the big guns in the form of Patton Dubois (Matt Dillon) to try and squeeze the source out her. After sending Rachel to jail for contempt for just shy of a year to try and make her crack, Rachel Armstrong stood firm in the face of adversity in a case that battled national security against the first amendment rights of the American people.

Nothing But the Truth was an extremely intelligent and interesting drama that really allowed Kate Beckinsale to flourish in a dramatical role and show off the versatility she has to offer. With excellent writing and great supporting characters in the shape of Albert Burnside (Alan Alda), who was Rachel Armstrong’s attorney, who was both very witty and extremely cynical. Vera Farmiga also churned out a solid performance as she played the covert CIA agent in question (Erica Van Doren) and she displays both motherly protective instincts and the ruthlessness that she was trained for.

As I mentioned this movie allows you to be put in the shoes of the accused in the shape of Rachel Armstrong and you ask yourself what would I do if I were her? Would I stick to my principals and the right to free speech or would I reveal the sources name to avoid jail and possible prison time? If it were me I’d immediately, without hesitation reveal the name of the source. She spent nearly a year in jail and then sentenced to a bargained two years in prison and if you ask me, the protection of a Government source is not worth missing your young child grow up and have your family torn apart for. While it’s a noble cause it’s not a worthwhile one from a personal standpoint. But as you find out the source used by Rachel it begs the question, is the source used even an ethical one to use and can the information be classed as valid given the identity of who revealed it. This movie really gets you thinking for a long time after the credits have finished rolling.

One of the main problems I had with this movie was that I disagreed with the central protagonists stance and I really disliked the character played by David Schwimmer who plays Rachel’s husband, Ray. While he may not agree or like the fact that his wife is protecting her source and choosing jail time over her family it doesn’t take him long until he starts seeking love and attention elsewhere. While I can relate to Ray in terms of disagreeing with Rachel for protecting her source, it’s absurd to think that he can’t last more than six months without betraying his wife and looking elsewhere for companionship.

In conclusion, Nothing But the Truth is an intelligently written drama with great acting. While I disagree with the stance Kate Beckinsale’s character takes, I can only admire her dedication to her cause.


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