Thinking Pulitzer Prize and hoping to bring down a President, D.C. political columnist Rachel Armstrong writes that the President ignored the findings of a covert CIA operative when ordering air strikes against Venezuela. Rachel names the agent, Erica Van Doren, a woman whose young daughter is in Rachel's son's class at school. The government moves quickly to force Rachel to name her source. She's jailed for contempt when she refuses. She won't change her mind, and the days add up. Chaos descends on Van Doren's life as well. First Amendment versus national security, marriage and motherhood versus separation. What's the value of a principle? Written by
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH does what the newspapers have basically stopped doing: it focuses on issues that affect the nation from the very top of the government down, revealing the machinations of behind the scenes secrecy that could break the Bill of Rights into pieces. In many ways it is a horror movie, if the story line of the film 'based on a real incident' examined in such a carefully realized way is unknown to many viewers Yes, movies are movies and need to alter names and places and events to create a dramatic effect, but the story here is one that needs diligent attention as we continue to re-evaluate the dense and covered shadows that remain from the last administration.
An attempted assassination of the President too quickly leads to naming Venezuela as perpetrator and under the guise of 'national security' that country is placed as the target for a possible preemptive war (sound familiar?). Cover-up begins and an undercover CIA operative is disclosed by a gutsy female reporter whose story is so important that it suggests the possibility of being in line for a Pulitzer Prize. But the government doesn't want the truth to leak and the reporter is eventually jailed and imprisoned for refusing to reveal her source of the story. The ending of the film is indeed terrifying.
The well selected cast includes Kate Beckinsale as the brave reporter, Vera Farminga as the outed CIA operative, David Schwimmer as Beckinsale's frightened husband, Matt Dillon as the government henchman assigned to get Beckinsale to reveal her source and Alan Alda as the lawyer who supports Beckinsale's stance (his speech before the Supreme Court will be remembered as some of the finest and most gripping writing in years). Others in strong supporting roles include Angela Bassett, Noah Wylie, and Floyd Abrams.
Sam Lurie wrote and directed this engrossing film with the good sense to not hammer the audience over the head with the fairly obvious comparisons to the shenanigans of the Bush/Cheney administration, leaving the evidence in plain sight that when the President decides what can and can't be known to the public - in the name of 'homeland security' - our constitutional rights and even our democratic form of government is at stake. This is a fine movie, beautifully acted, and SHOULD be seen by everyone. Grady Harp
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