2.5 Stars out of 4
EXCLUSIVE TO SHORT CUTS!
In Fair Game, when battling for the truth against one of the most powerful governments in the world, you enter a chess game. The government holds all the knights and you hold every pawn. A man, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), has such a passion for the truth he endears a labyrinth of conspiracy, lies, and betrayals while trying to keep his family together and the rapport with his wife Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts). She is a CIA agent whose name is leaked to the public after her husband writes a polemical editorial to the Washington Post.
The irony of Fair Game is that there is no fairness or rules. The government wins because it has power and it protects the people. When the people question that power, it turns away from them - and perhaps attacks. This movie Fair Game is directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) and he bases it off the memoirs of Plame.
The film has the right anger and angle to it but just does not take off enough. It juggles itself between thriller and conventional bio-pic and never fully engages. The first half is incredibly slow, but is meant to build up a web of lies that will soon be inanely challenged. There is just no point trying to overpower a political force, but there is no problem in making a statement. Fair Game has been criticized for its distortions and counterfeit scenes, but I can only expect so much…
I do like Plame’s final lines regarding that the government can take the truth and destroy it, but not her family. Luckily, Penn and Watts are strong enough to make the family believable and feel torn apart when it needs to seem that way. The film grapples with the tension within a country as it panicked, went to war, and got confused with their own morals. Wilson notes in a final speech: “a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked what government he had given us. Franklin said…”
A Republic, m’am. If you can keep it.