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Nothing but the Truth

July 17, 2009


Power, sexism and family make the backbone of Rod Lurie’s latest film, Nothing But The Truth, inspired by real events in Washington.

The movie revolves around three pivotal characters, Capital Sun-Times reporter Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale), C.I.A operative Erica Van Doren (Vera Farmiga) and special prosecutor Patton DuBois (Matt Dillon). The story begins in the US, in the wake of a presidential assassination attempt that drives a military attack against Venezuela.

In the aftermath, Beckinsale publishes an article revealing Farmiga as a CIA operative, who had disclaimed charges against Venezuelans in a report to the White House, which offered no evidence of Venezuela’s involvement. Enters Dillon, a special prosecutor who persistently tries to unveil Beckinsale’s source. Then onwards begins the battle between courage and persistence, individual vs. family.


Capital Sun-Times reporter Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale)

Here’s a little peak at Anne Brodie’s interview with Rod Lurie on Nothing But The Truth:

AB: Kate Beckinsale has been recognized for her work in the film.  How did you interest her in the film, and work with her?

RL: I could go on and on for hours about Kate Beckinsale, who probably should be known from here on after as “The Great Kate.”  ….. It wasn’t me that attracted her; I think it was the script, or at least the character.  It was the fact that it was a woman of integrity, a woman who was struggling with her own principles, and a woman who had to determine whether or not she should sacrifice her relationship with her child to protect those principles.

The film is an epitome of the harsh realities faced by journalists who risk everything physical and personal in the battle to exercise their journalistic rights, their civil rights. Should Beckinsale give in her source to protect her family or should she live up to a journalist’s reputation?

C.I.A operative Erica Van Doren (Vera Farmiga)

C.I.A operative Erica Van Doren (Vera Farmiga)

Beckinsale’s fight to protect her source lands her in jail on charges of contempt of court. Dillon’s persistence to reveal the source backfires on Farmiga, who in turn absorbs job loss amongst other personal injuries. Beckinsale’s husband, Ray (David Schwimmer) who had previously supported her in publishing the article, falls behind her struggle, which in turn causes their marriage to fall apart. Not to forget Beckinsale’s son who suffers the trauma of a broken family.

Lurie’s intentions were clearly one sympathizing with Beckinsale’s character, but the movie brings to light another relevant facet of journalism, the significance of referencing your sources. Journalism has no boundaries, anybody can write anything anywhere but to avoid pitfalls, there needs to be objectivity and factual evidence backing one’s position.

Nothing But The Truth is highly applicable to the present politically charged society. As much as I support Beckinsale’s fight for her journalistic rights, I also feel she somewhat confuses her rights with her journalistic power. She fights for the rights of the press to protect a source, which in turn she ends up exploiting to gain herself a celebrity status, the good ‘ol Pulitzer.


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