Dave White
Fair Game Review

Dave's Rating:

3.0

Dirty tricks are alive and well in D.C.

Who's In It: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn

The Basics: Here's a quick recent history lesson in case you weren't paying attention when it happened. Valerie Plame was a CIA agent during George W. Bush's administration. Her husband Joe Wilson is the former ambassador to Niger. She was sent to Iraq in 2001 to look for evidence of a nuclear program. She found none. He was sent to Niger to find out of they sold enriched uranium to Iraq. He found no deal. The Bush administration ignored their findings and reported the opposite as reasons to build up to war with Iraq. When Joe Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times about this, the administration retaliated by blowing Plame's cover as a CIA official. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (who was, at the time, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff) was convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI. Bush commuted Libby's prison sentence.

What's The Deal: If you watched the news while all this was going down, you don't really need to see this movie, but it's good that it exists. It's not just that it's a well-made adult drama about real events that, sadly, seem both unbelievable and too horrifyingly real, it's the kind of movie that will anger audiences whose memories extend past the last two years. They used to make these kinds of films a lot in the '70s and early '80s, stuff like All The President's Men, political dramas about corruption at the highest levels of power. I think they stopped because people just got too bummed out to watch them unless they involved aliens. It's a tough enough world without being confronted at the movies by the fact that people you vote for are constantly lying to you. Lesson number one million about why the government is not to be trusted makes the popcorn feel less buttery.

The Well-Oiled Machine Of Watts And Penn: This is their third movie together (after 21 Grams, The Assassination of Richard Nixon) so their ability to work off the other's presence makes it feel like they're both in it together instead of two showboating actors trying to out-emote each other. In fact, Watts is so controlled and slow-burning that she may be what helps keep Penn's tendency to agonize and shout in check. Most of the time, anyway. He still loves it when he gets the chance to grimace and yell, so...

Oops, Sorry, Spoke Too Soon: She doesn't totally keep him in line. The script gives Penn the chance to preach it up at the end, lecturing a group of students (and, by extension, the trapped moviegoers) about democracy and truth and the damaging effects of power and everything else this film's target audience already worries about obsessively. It's annoying when a movie thinks you haven't been paying attention for the first hundred minutes and feels the need to spell it out with a hammer in the last five, but what are you gonna do?

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Comments (4)

R - 11-28-2010 5:31 PM
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Based on this review and Sean Penn starring, I'll probably wait till video. The real event was reckless & atrocious & criminal. The appearance of Penn (stupid lefist idiot) helps to diminish the weight of the real story. There are a lot of conservatives who care about justice. A self-righteous diatribe at the end of the flick by a leftist with an agenda does little to convince or show middle america real crime against the country was committed and covered up by those elected to lead the country. The notion that this was not that big a deal (preached by Limbaugh) is made MORE credible by having a traitorous fool like Sean Penn play a lead role. The story is significant in spite of how it was cast.

George - 12-13-2010 6:39 PM
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The outrage is that the prosecution continued after George Armitrage admitted that he "outed" Plame. The outrage is that Plame sent her husband, Wilson, a peace activist to look for yellowcake. He did not look and did not find. He never filed a report to the administration but instead wrote an op/ed article. The outrage is the Plame was a known CIA officer working in Washington. Propaganda movie.

George - 12-13-2010 6:40 PM
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The outrage is that the prosecution continued after George Armitrage admitted that he "outed" Plame. The outrage is that Plame sent her husband, Wilson, a peace activist to look for yellowcake. He did not look and did not find. He never filed a report to the administration but instead wrote an op/ed article. The outrage is the Plame was a known CIA officer working in Washington. Propaganda movie.

CriticalThinker - 6-09-2014 3:35 AM
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The outrage is a sheeplike public, like George, who just believes everything that the Right Wing Nut Job Media feeds him--see Faux News Channel, while completely ignoring the biggest outrage--see illegal invasion of defenseless country, based on lies, to obtain the ultimate goal....freedom for Ir(yeah right;)...no no, really, to obtain Iraq's oil real estate for the Big Oil Corporations at ZERO COST(unless you peasants count military as a cost:o.....and to ramp up defense spending(stealing $$) during WAR$$$$ But, never mind all that BIGGER stuff, George has some TMZ opinions about Plame and yellow cake:P

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