A staggering three years after its US release, Nothing But The Truth finally makes its way to DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK – and I’m thankful that it did. Rod Lurie’s film is a stirring homage to the classic political thriller with echoes to the likes of All The President’s Men.
Kate Beckinsale stars as Rachel Armstrong, a journalist who is imprisoned after refusing to name the source who tipped her off about the President’ s corrupt dealings.
The driving force behind Nothing But The Truth is a delicately crafted screenplay from Rod Lurie (the man behind TV’s vastly underrated Commander In Chief). Lurie refuses to rely on cheap thrills and spectacle, masterfully crafting an undeniable sense of realism – the drama stays low-key, but consistently believable, tense, and emotionally involving. Armstrong is a character who sticks by her clear moral code, despite Federal prosecutor Patton Dubois’ (Matt Dillon) best efforts to break this – which makes for an engaging source of narrative conflict.
This tale of journalistic intrigue is something that we rarely see in twentieth-first century cinema – with Nothing But The Truth boasting a noticeable sense of nostalgia. Lurie’s intelligent screenplay and understated direction hark back to the similar ground of All The President’s Men. This is also reflected through the depth of Beckinsale’s performance.
Beckinsale is magnificent here; the actress allows traces of vulnerability to shine through this strong-willed female reporter, yet ultimately we know that this is someone who will not be broken. It is a complete pleasure to see her abandon the on-screen action persona that many will undoubtedly associate with her, with Nothing But The Truth really allowing her to show off just how skilled an actress she in. Supporting turns from Vera Farmiga, Matt Dillon and Alan Alda add some further dramatic weight to Lurie’s feature – with each performer remaining utterly convincing throughout.
At various points throughout Nothing But The Truth, the film verges into TV movie territory – the sort that fill the likes of Movies2 4 or afternoons on Channel Five. This is by no means a bad thing as the dramatic power of the feature speaks for itself – but the over-slick, polished aesthetic cheapens the overall feel of the film.
Nothing But The Truth is a truly stellar example of modern American filmmaking. It’s intelligent, understated, and tremendously acted. Only one question remains – why weren’t we allowed to enjoy this sooner?
Originally posted on The People’s Movies