Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nothing But the Truth - DVD Review

NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (***) - Starring Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga, Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, David Schwimmer, Courtney B. Vance and Noah Wyle.
Directed by Rod Lurie.

Kate Beckinsale is one of my favorite actresses. Total babe; very good at what she does. She may do the big-budget bill-payers like Van Helsing and Click, but she also seeks out those low-budget dramas, like Snow Angels and this.

This is probably Rod Lurie's best movie; the film-critic-turned-moviemaker will always have a place in my heart for the hilariously illogical The Contender, which still featured great performances from Gary Oldman, Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges. This movie features equally fine acting jobs from Beckinsale, Vera Farmiga and Alan Alda, and for the most part it's a compelling melodrama.

It's one of those movies that champions true journalism. Alan Alda, as a defense attorney, gives a moving argument about the press being one of the last institutions in place to keep government honest. The story gets rolling when there is an assassination attempt on the President's life. Intelligence suggests that the plot stemmed from Venezuela, and the U.S. strikes. But there is an author who claims that there was no supporting intelligence that Venezuela was behind the attempt. Turns out, the author's wife is a CIA agent, and Beckinsale plays the reporter who outs her.

It's inspired by the Valerie Plame case, but it's not based on it. Vera Farmiga (The Departed) does great work as the outed agent, and Beckinsale is up to the task of the reporter who goes to jail rather than give up her source.

The reporter suffers more and more for her work. Months go by. Her marriage suffers.

And there's the twist at the end that almost ruins the movie. Not quite as rug-yanking as the end of The Life of David Gale, but it definitely hurts.

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