Saturday, December 4, 2010
The last time that Sean Penn and Naomi Watts acted together was in the excellent 21 grams. This is an equally harrowing tale, though for different reasons. Fair Game is based on a true story, although how true is difficult to judge as the story had to be gleaned from different sources as there is no official reports. Naomi Watts plays Valerie Plame, a CIA agent though to everyone except her husband and parents is a stocks trader. She is married to Joe Wilson (Sean Penn) who is an outspoken quite humourless and earnest democrat who demands the truth, even around the dinner table. Valerie is involved in the weapons of mass destruction period of history. Her and her colleagues are asked to find the truth surrounding whether or not Iraq had them or not, and more specifically whether aluminium tubing found was indeed for uranium and nuclear weapons or not. Valerie's husband Joe is asked to embark on a fact finding mission to Africa, to a country he knows well, Niger (irritatingly pronounced Neeeeeger so as not to be mixed with Nigeria). Joe goes to ascertain whether Neeeeeger is involved in the WMD or not. Joe finds all evidence to the negative, as do the CIA. This doesn't stop the US Government from stating as we all know, that Saddam Hussein was hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction. Valerie has also roped in an Iraqi Dr working in the US to go back to Iraq to question her brother, a scientist, about his knowledge of the hidden weapons. This family are lead to believe, as is Valerie that they will be helped by Uncle Sam to leave Iraq and live a life in safety in America. This does not happen. Due to Joe's outrage as the news is broadcast that an investigation in Neeeeger found evidence of WMD, he reveals that he was the source and that he found no such evidence. This leads to the CIA and The Vice President offering up Valerie as the sacrificial lamb and to her horror exposing her as an agent. Her friends are horrified, watch for her best friend, played by Brooke Smith, recognise her as Jame Gumb's lucky victim in Silence of the Lambs? Joe and Valerie's lives are torn apart as they have to face allegations from the public that they are communists and suffer death threats. Their marriage is in ruins as Valerie questions Joe's motives for speaking out. As you would expect, the performances are excellent. No one does outraged political correctness quite as well as Sean Penn. Naomi Watts is equally compelling, though slightly less self righteous. It's a difficult story to tell, at times it can veer into the uninteresting, although the subject itself isn't. We all know that faceless Government services would sell their Granny down the river for a promotion, but it's still quite shocking to see it happen. There is such opinion on this war, and although 'Fair Game' is very slanted to the against camp, it is more well balanced than expected. It's a worthy film, but not quite entertainment. FAIR GAME: War Games are rarely fair. 6/10.