In a thinly veiled retelling of New York Times reporter Judy Miller’s life story, Nothing But the Truth is a brutally dull political drama starring Kate Beckinsale as a reporter who, like Miller, is jailed after she refuses to name her source in an article outing a CIA operative. Beckinsale is all bouncy ponytail and no brilliance in an emotionally demanding role that leaves her blinking vacantly for the majority of the film. Writer-director Rod Lurie (The Contender) fails to conjure a coherent, compelling story, though he does continue his thematic preference for highlighting women in precarious political situations while filling the screen with tremendously talented actors including Angela Bassett as Beckinsale’s editor, Vera Farmiga as the revealed CIA operative and Alan Alda, providing some of the film’s few shining moments as Beckinsale’s long-suffering lawyer. Overflowing with laborious speeches about the virtues of the First Amendment and the necessity for journalistic integrity, the film fails to answer the most important question: Why should we care?

Grade: D

Nothing But the Truth releases in select theaters Dec. 19.