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Nothing But the Truth

3.6 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Vera Farmiga
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PR0Y8K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,288 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nothing But the Truth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Movie Man VINE VOICE on May 23, 2009
Format: DVD
"Nothing But the Truth" is based on the events surrounding the prison sentence of "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller after she refused to reveal the source who identified undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Prompted by a failed assassination attempt on the President of the United States, investigative reporter Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale) discovers that a neighborhood woman is a CIA operative. Rachel believes she has happened upon the Big Story, and is backed by her editor (Angela Bassett), the newspaper's legal counsel (Noah Wyle), and her First Amendment lawyer (Alan Alda). Federal prosecutor Patton Dubois (Matt Dillon) wants her to name her sources. She refuses and is thrown in jail for contempt of court. She thinks she will soon be released, but as her incarceration lengthens, her relationship with husband (David Schwimmer) and son (Preston Bailey) starts to deteriorate.
Performances are first-rate in this tense political thriller. Beckinsale is sympathetic as the idealistic yet frightened reporter, but Dillon dazzles as the Javert-like Fed who will use anything and everything within his power to break the reporter's will. The changing relationship between Rachel and her family gives the film humanity and elevates it from a mere "ripped from the headlines" flick to one of depth.
Bonus extras include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and filmmakers' commentary.
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Format: DVD
The freedom of the press, issues of national security, and the consequences of standing by one's personal principles are all on trial in "Nothing But the Truth." I'm not sure why the reviews here tend to be so negative, save the ranting of those who fail to see that this film represents two sides.

Kate Beckinsale plays the role of a journalist who writes a story implicating the government's top echelons in declaring an act of war with trumped-up evidence. Matt Dillon plays the prosecutor who pressures her to reveal her source--since that source has violated the law by naming a covert CIA agent, played to great effect by Vera Farmiga. Yes, the plot has some obvious correlations to events of the past few years, which seems to be the thorn in the side of some reviewers, but it gives both sides important things to say. While the film does center around Beckinsale, building sympathy for her, it also gives Dillon's character a chance to stand by his own moral codes to protect his country. The issues of the First and Fifth Amendment are considered here.

"Nothing But the Truth" keeps us hooked by the secret identify of the source that Beckinsale protects with such ferocity. Alan Alda plays her lawyer, while Angela Bassett plays her editor. Though both add layers, it's Beckinsale, Farmiga, and Dillon who drive the story. Beckinsale and Farmiga are strong female characters, both threatened with the losses of marriage and family ties, both feeling persecuted for doing their jobs.

I hold dear the power of the written word and the right to speak the truth. I also believe national security is of vital importance, and I like the fact this film honors that as well.
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"I told her that I was there to represent her and not her principle. And it was not until I met her that I realized that with great people there's no difference between principle and the person."

Not only does this film dive into deep philosophical and moral commentary, but it was a very enjoyable watch. I was glued to the screen for the duration of the film. There's plenty of suspense, and I think the scenes showing impact on the reporter's family was important for telling the story, ideally helping viewers relate.

This movie is important for those who are principled. It's a story of sticking to your guns and doing what is right, no matter the consequences. It's also foreshadowing to the power of the federal government. Since this film was released, the DOJ has attack journalists for not disclosing their sources to the feds.

I think this film is mostly philosophically neutral, and only the biggest worshipers of federal bureaucracy's supreme power may be offended. Unfortunately, there is enough sexual material that this film probably shouldn't be shown in school or to children, even though there is a good lesson to be learned from this story.
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Format: DVD
I picked this up in a vacation rental, and brought it home because of the cast and the issues portrayed. The story is rooted in actual facts (the Valerie Plame/Judith Miller case) but only uses the issues of that case as a starting point; the plot goes off in different directions. I remember being vaguely uneasy while all this was playing out in real life: first amendment rights and liberties vs. the need to protect our secret operatives.

This movie is well done, and left me equally unsettled as the 'real life' events, because there is no pat solution to the conflicts shown here. It isn't a black and white set of issues, and the movie's considerable merit it that it doesn't take sides; arguments on both sides are played out with equal fervor and characterized well by a really good cast doing a great job of acting.

I'd recommend this film first and foremost for the issues it deals with, but a close second for the acting. Its top notch. Everyone did a great job, and several surprise. For example, David Schwimmer delivers great depth and anxiety as the journalist's beleaguered husband. First amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams was brought in by Rod Lurie to advise on the film since he argued for Judith Miller on the original case; in a stroke of casting brilliance, he ended up playing the judge central to the outcome, despite having never acted before. Indeed, in the supreme court scene, those playing the justices also are real life judges.

Those other reviewers who complain that there isn't enough action here have perhaps missed the point. This is a movie about ideas, not about action-driven plots. Do you really want a "shoot-em up" drama over journalists and the concepts behind our first amendment rights?? Have you been watching TV? France just lived through this over the past week.
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