Inspired by true events. Kate Beckinsale and Academy Award® nominee Matt Dillon (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Crash, 2004) lead an all-star cast in this explosive story about a Washington, D.C. reporter who faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to out her source. The all-star cast includes Academy Award® nominees Alan Alda (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for The Aviator, 2004), Angela Bassett (Best Actress in a Leading Role for What's Love Got to Do with It, 1993); Emmy® Award nominee David Schwimmer (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for "Friends," 1994), Golden Globe® nominee Noah Wyle (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture for "ER," 1997-99) and Vera Farmiga (The Departed).
A U.S. President itching to start a war... A confidential report telling the Administration the opposite of what it wants to hear... A Beltway wife outed to the press as a CIA operative... And another woman, a hotshot reporter, threatened with jail because she won't reveal her source... Yes, it does sound like the Bush-era case of Valerie Plame and New York Times
journalist Judith Miller--and by the time you make it to the end of writer-director Rod Lurie's latest inside-Washington shadowplay, you may wish he'd served up that real-life story instead of half-baked fiction. Kate Beckinsale plays the reporter, a rising star with a ponytail and a Pulitzer-worthy scoop, "Watergate and Iran-Contra combined." The film's best scenes have her tussling with the Plame figure (the formidable Vera Farmiga). Lurie makes them soccer moms whose kids play together--a proto-feminist gesture befitting the creator of The Contender
(the movie with Joan Allen as a Vice Presidential nominee battling a sex scandal) and Commander-in-Chief
(the short-lived TV series featuring Geena Davis as America's first woman President). Nothing but the Truth
trumpets its this-wouldn't-happen-to-a-man
outrage but resorts to woman's-picture subplots involving weak, unreliable spouses--then compounds the lapse by leaving the male roles underdeveloped. Lurie seems to be working his way down a checklist of themes (sexism, the need to protect the freedom of the press, the way lives get left behind by the 48-hour news cycle) and possible impacts a person in Beckinsale's position might experience. Finally, his film is a make-your-own-movie kit leaving the viewer free to focus on favorite ingredients. Apart from Beckinsale and Farmiga, the name cast (Angela Bassett, Noah Wyle, et al.) is mostly reduced to revving their engines, though Matt Dillon scores as a special prosecutor mixing folksiness and cold calculation, while Alan Alda gets to showboat as a legendary defense attorney. The widescreen setups abound in irritating mannerisms and pointless foreground clutter, but since cameraman Alik Sakharov did clean work throughout the epic run of HBO's The Sopranos
, the blame must lie with the director. And that's the truth. --Richard T. Jameson