Fair Game

It’s tough to rate titles like Fair Game based solely on cinematic qualities like acting or the plot. Watching the movie version of how Valerie Plame’s job as a covert CIA officer was leaked in the media was much like seeing it on the news a few years back. Sure, there were actors and camera work to depict what happened, but the film style was more like a documentary because of its content. In addition to the true events, there are books written by Plame and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, used to create the script.

Plame (Naomi Watts) wrote the book Fair Game and Wilson (Sean Penn) completed his The Politics of Truth after the events that started in 2003. Wilson published an editorial in the New York Times that was thought to criticize the Bush Administration and to be the reason why his wife’s very secret job became public.
As far as Plame, the film largely focused on her role in the CIA to ensure Iran didn’t secure weapons of mass destruction, among other undercover intelligence-gathering missions. That is before “the leak.” After it happened, she stepped into the shadows while Wilson worked in the limelight to show the truth. His efforts  only led to people think Plame used her role in the CIA to order Wilson to travel to Niger to investigate the source of uranium sold there, which led to his editorial in the paper. By the end Plame did speak to the public and Naomi Watts’ scene was identical to what happened. They even showed the actual footage parallel with Watts’ performance.
So acting and cinematography aren’t the main key here. It’s seeing a story of fact, and a pretty recent one at that, combined in a couple of hours to document a historic event. It’s surprising Plame and Wilson turned out books so quickly when sometimes it feels like this just happened. But, it was obviously a very personal story for them both to tell since the national scandal had roots in their marriage. In the movie, the political/criminal aspects of the scandal were the focus just as much as how their relationship survived.
Watts excelled in scenes to show her character’s personal strife about her marriage and strain on her family more than those about losing her career. If there is one cinema plus of Fair Game, it’s Watts’ acting. Otherwise, I overall enjoyed the truth at the heart of this film and attention to a story that made history.


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