NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (2008)
Written and directed by Rod Lurie
After an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, political columnist Rachel Armstrong (Beckinsale) receives groundbreaking information from a reliable source that suggests the government are declaring air strikes against Venezuela, blaming them for the assassination attempt, regardless of there being no evidence of their involvement after sending CIA operative Erica Van Doren (Farmiga) to investigate. Outing Van Doren as a CIA agent and the government’s unscrupulous actions on the front page of her employer’s major news publication, Rachel finds herself in a court battle with possible jail time unless she names her source that leaked this highly classified information. But with her promise of confidentiality, just how far will Rachel go to protect the identity of her source?
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is a tense political thriller with an all-star cast including Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga and David Schwimmer. Kate Beckinsale is admirable as the small-time journalist who latches onto a story that could be her big break – a front page government scandal that could earn her the Pulitzer Prize! Little does she realise the implications that her article will cause, destroying her life and those around her. The strain put on her husband, Ray (Schwimmer), and young son as she faces crimes against national security become unbearable. Vera Famiga puts in a terrific performance as the named CIA operative, Erica Van Doren, with Rachel’s revealing article causing her world to turn upside down too. Working for the Government as Special Prosecutor, Patton Dubois, played calm yet intense by acot Matt Dillon, is a ruthless attoryney who’ll stop at nothing and know no boundaries until he secures the name of Rachel’s source, even if it means putting Rachel behind bars.
At the beginning of the film, the movie notes that the story is inspired by true events, but the film itself is entirely fictional. NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH is one of the more intriguing thrillers I’ve watched recently, with the focus on principle and what lengths we’d go to to protect or enforce it. Just like Rachel refuses to break her source’s confidentiality, Patton Dubois refuses to let this leak in national security slide. He’s adament to get the answer he needs.
Rod Lurie does a terrific job with NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, with a professional screenplay and engaging, steady cinematography making the film an easy, enjoyable watch. The way in which he paces the movie, the character’ lives slowly unravelling like a ball of yarn, show that once something is in motion, it is very hard to stop, and the longer it continues, the more life falls apart around us.
The film does an incredible job setting the tone by taking us to a variety of locations, from day-to-day family life at home and school, to the office, courtroom and beyond. The varied locations create a complete world for the characters to live in which makes the viewer more engrossed and sympathetic to the resulting story. I personally found myself asking, “What would I do in Rachel’s situation?” and as the film pans out, you wonder just how far you would go as a matter of principle. Like Rachel, the film too goes a long way into protecting the source, saving the reveal right until the end.
A gripping, thought-provoking political thriller.