x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Nothing but the Truth

A film about the 'outing' of the CIA agent Valerie Palme and the ensuring legal storm, as told in the book Fair Game.

Kate Beckinsale plays a campaigning journalist in Nothing but the Truth.
Kate Beckinsale plays a campaigning journalist in Nothing but the Truth.

In 2005, the identity of the covert CIA operative Valerie Plame was leaked by Bush administration insiders, apparently in revenge for Plame's husband publicly challenging the intelligence claims behind the US-led invasion of Iraq. In the headline-grabbing legal storm that followed, the New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to reveal her sources to a federal grand jury. Later this year, Sean Penn and Naomi Watts can be seen in Fair Game, a thriller based on this controversial case. Although fictional, Rod Lurie's polished and gripping courtroom drama was clearly inspired by the same events. Indeed, one of the attorneys in the real case, Floyd Abrams, served as the legal consultant and even plays a minor role as a judge. Transforming a complex true story into a stirring polemic about press freedom and all-American values, Lurie's dramatic focus lies less with Vera Farmiga's outed CIA agent than with Kate Beckinsale's campaigning journalist, obviously based on Miller, who is persecuted and jailed for refusing to reveal her sources. Lurie specialises in topical political dramas told from a liberal perspective, sometimes with an overly earnest and hectoring tone. Nothing but the Truth is not without its worthy moments, but this is still one of the 48-year-old writer-director's better efforts, combining strong performances with meaty moral dilemmas.