Director: Rod Lurie. US. 2008. 107mins.

A dramatic fictionalization thatconflates the political scandal of former covert intelligence officerValerie Plame and controversial journalist Judith Miller, Rod Lurie's Nothing But the Truthis a miscalculated piece damaged by poor direction, mediocre writingand performances that feel consistently misguided and off-key.

Lurie (The Contender) is acontemporary director interested in the culture of politics. His filmsspecialise in government process and how morality, power and behaviourare forefront against distinctive social and political institutions.His new movie evokes key newspaper titles such as All the President's Men and Absence of Malice. Unfortunately, his own sensibility is that of a television director and the results are flattened and emotionally overwrought.

Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon lead a cast more impressive on paperthan on film. Still, the top-heavy names ensure some limited theatricalexposure with the strongest returns likely to come in television. Theinternational unpopularity of the actual story's key participants marksan additional barrier to market success.

In the aftermath of a US military operation against Venezuela -retaliation against the country's role in an assassination plot againstthe American president - Rachel Armstrong (Beckinsale), a nationalWashington-based political reporter, publishes a story identifyingErica Van Doren (Farmiga) as a CIA officer whose intelligence reportsconflicted with the government's official intelligence reports.

She refuses to reveal her primary source, which draws the wrath of aspecial federal prosecutor (Dillon) and results in her being imprisonedfor contempt. The balance of the story alternates between Rachel'sprison ordeal, the political and legal maneuvering of her powerfulattorney (Alda) and the special prosecutor, plus the personal andpolitical damage visited upon Van Doren.

Lurie's television sensibility fatally compromises the movie's visualdesign: shot in widescreen, the movie is composed almost entirely ofsuffocating close-ups. Furthermore, the movie's details never feelaccurate, from the lack of chaos and disruption in the assassinationattempt to the near-complete absence of documentary realism about thecountry, the period or the mood conjured by such a national trauma.Everything is spoken or asserted though never shown or revealed.

A former entertainment journalist, Lurie struggles with the scripthere. The movie's second half has a succession of embarrassing moments,from the superior way Rachel insults a celebrity television newsreporter to a prison fight that appears imported from a 1972 B-movie.The pronouncements and language deployed by the Dillon and Aldacharacters become so insipid and banal as to invite outright ridicule.

Production companies
Yari Film Group
Battleplan Productions

International sales agent
Syndicate Films International

US distributor
Yari Film Group Releasing

Executive producers
Dennis Brown
David C. Glasser
William J. Immerman
James Spies

Bob Yari
Marc Frydman
Rod Lurie

Rod Lurie

Alik Sakharov

Main cast
Kate Beckinsale
Matt Dillon
Angela Bassett
Alan Alda
Vera Farmiga
David Schwimmer
Noah Wyle
Courtney B. Vance
Floyd Abrams