Fair Game Movie Review

This provocative, fascinating true story is told with so much righteous rage that the politics overwhelm the personal drama. Terrific acting and a sharp, brainy script hold our interest, but we never properly feel the emotional punch.

Valerie Plame (Watts) is a high-level CIA operative juggling teams in a variety of locations. In the wake of 9/11, her focus is on investigating Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons programme. Her husband, Joe Wilson (Penn), is the expert sent to Niger to investigate uranium rumours, but he finds no evidence.

And this is backed up by Valerie's discoveries from scientists in Iraq. So when Joe hears George W Bush lying in a State of the Union address, he writes a rebuttal. Enraged, Bush administration official Scooter Libby (Andrews) releases Valerie's identity.

From here the story escalates into a series of heated outbursts and claims that are muddied by a meddling press that doesn't cares less about the truth than about ratings and newspaper sales. The truth gets lost in the shuffle, and it's difficult not to get angry as government officials lie through their teeth, journalists take the wrong side and Joe and Valerie find their lives crashing down around them merely for daring to speak the truth.

But the film takes an extremely strident approach, slanting things both for dramatic and political effect. Even if we agree, it's far too heavy-handed, and by so clearly taking sides, the script badly undermines the story's strong personal elements. Watts and Penn both give beautifully complex, honest and involving performances, so we're on their side anyway. It's just that the filmmakers don't seem to trust the material to make the point without pushing it.

That said, the indignation is pretty infectious when events are so carefully laid out. Liman's filmmaking has an urgent, raw quality from the start, with realistic rough edges and an alert eye for detail. The best scenes are off-handed ones like a strained dinner party. But things are continually cranked up to generate suspense or melodrama where it isn't really needed. Much more effective is Shepard, as Valerie's dad, quietly consoling her: "What they did was wrong. Just plain wrong."

Cast & Crew

Director :


Comments

Fair Game Rating

" OK "

Rating: 12, 2010

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Why ‘The House of Magic’ Is The Movie To Go See This Weekend

If you’re looking for a cinematic treat for all the family this weekend, then...

Why ‘The House of Magic’ Is The Movie To Go See This Weekend

Here Comes Guardians of The Galaxy, A Huge Weekend in Store?

‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ hits cinemas next weekend with Marvel...

Here Comes Guardians of The Galaxy, A Huge Weekend in Store?

Bastille - Flaws [Live]

Bastille perform their 2012 single 'Flaws' live at The Troubadour in London to an enthusiastic crowd. The...

Bastille - Flaws [Live] Video

Colbie Caillat - Try Single Review

Colbie Caillat isn't known for producing 'trendy' pop songs of any kind, but she certainly always maintains...

Colbie Caillat - Try Single Review

'The Purge: Anarchy' Launches Another Grisly Franchise

Last year's sleeper hit The Purge was an unusually intelligent thriller starring Ethan Hawke as...

'The Purge: Anarchy' Launches Another Grisly Franchise

Nightcrawler Trailer

Lou Bloom is a hard-working budding journalist whose deep obsession with his career has rendered him...

Nightcrawler Trailer
Advertisement

'Joe' Is A Reminder That Nicolas Cage is a Great Actor

There are all kinds of theories about Nicolas Cage's acting style, usually centred on whether...

'Joe' Is A Reminder That Nicolas Cage is a Great Actor

Blunt, Mirren or Winslet? Who Will Win Best Actress Oscar 2015?

The biggest night in the film award circuit is still seven months away. But...

Blunt, Mirren or Winslet? Who Will Win Best Actress Oscar 2015?

Legendary Rocker Tom Petty Returns With New Album 'Hypnotic Eyes'

American rock legend Tom Petty reunites with backing band The Heartbreakers...

Legendary Rocker Tom Petty Returns With New Album 'Hypnotic Eyes'


More recommendations

Advertisement