It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Alan Alda has a scene in "Nothing But the Truth" where he reads a dissenting Supreme Court opinion defending the right of journalists to protect confidential sources. I assumed the speech was genuine, and was surprised to learn that the case inspiring the film was not heard by the Supreme Court. In fact the speech was written by Rod Lurie, the writer and director of the film, who would make an excellent Supreme if writing opinions were the only requirement. It was so soundly grounded in American idealism that I felt a patriotic stirring.
The film is obviously inspired by the case of Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter who served 85 days in prison for refusing to name her source in the Valerie Plame affair. That was the case in which Vice President Cheney's top aide blew the cover of a CIA agent in order to discredit the agent's husband, who investigated reports that Niger sold uranium to Saddam Hussein. He found no such evidence. The uranium story was part of the web of Bush-Cheney lies about WMD that were used to justify the Iraq war.
The case is complicated, but if you know the general outlines, you can easily interpret Lurie's fictional story as a direct parallel to Miller/Valerie Plame/Joseph Wilson, though the names and specific details have been changed. In real life, Miller's reporting, accuracy and objectivity were sharply questioned, and Lurie wisely sidesteps history to focus on the underlying question: Which is more important, the principle of confidentiality, or national security? Trying to deal with the real Miller story would have trapped the film in a quicksand of complications.
I'm sure some readers are asking, why don't I just review the movie? Why drag in politics? If you are such a person, do not see "Nothing but the Truth." It will make you angry or uneasy, one or the other. That Bush lied to lead us into Iraq is a generally accepted fact, and the movie regards a few of the consequences.