Nothing But the Truth (review)

And here we come to the tricksy middle ground of my green light/yellow light/red light ratings scale: When I saw Nothing But the Truth last year, it was slated for theatrical release, and would have garnered a yellow-light/wait-for-DVD rating. Then the film became a casualty of distributor Yari Film Group’s financial woes and subsequent bankruptcy, never got its theatrical release, and went straight to DVD last week. Can I recommend you check it out on DVD? Yes… but the green-on-DVD rating still comes with caveats. It’s hard to put a finger on anything actually wrong with this earnest drama of politics, conscience, and democratic ideals — and I must emphasize that I like film critic-turned-filmmaker Rod Lurie (Resurrecting the Champ) not just because he’s one of my own but for his storytelling sincerity and dedication — but it’s equally difficult to embrace it enthusiastically, too. In a fictionalized take on the Valerie Plame-outing scandal, a Washington newspaper columnist (Kate Beckinsale: Click) comes under fire for revealing the identity of an undercover CIA operative in a story that embarrasses the White House. Naturally, she refuses to name her confidential informant. The noteworthy and honest performances from Beckinsale and her impressive costars, make it worth a look — and this assemblage of talent is must-see: Matt Dillon (You, Me and Dupree), Angela Bassett (Notorious), Alan Alda (Flash of Genius), Vera Farmiga (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), David Schwimmer (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa), Courtney B. Vance (Space Cowboys), and Noah Wyle (An American Affair). But after much philosophical handwringing, the ending appears to suggest that some informants are more worth protecting than others. There’s a teensy bit of a problem, perhaps, because the film also appears to want to suggest precisely the opposite.

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