As shown in Fair Game, the CIA agent formerly known as Valerie Plame Wilson was famously stripped of her anonymity as a CIA operative agent when reporter Robert Novak published her name in an article that spoke to the building up of the Iraq War.
In the months leading up to the beginning of the Iraq War, the CIA was charged with looking deeper into the connection between Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and terrorism. Still smarting from 9/11, America was led to believe that Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction.
Joe Wilson is an expert in the arena of Middle Eastern politics and was the last American to meet Saddam Hussein as the leader of Iraq. When he returned from a trip to Africa to investigate a claim that Iraq had secured nuclear weapon-developing aluminum tubes and had hands-down confirmation it did not happen, Fair Game and the real political theater begins.
As Joe Wilson, Sean Penn is a marvel. With a slicked-back, parted in the middle coif, his Wilson is equal statesman and father. He and Valerie lead a normal life in Washington suburbia and through their friendly encounters with neighbors and dinner parties, we learn that as the news is dominated by the rhetoric that Saddam is acquiring nukes, Fair Game's central characters know otherwise.
It is when those moments churn over into Penn's explosive tenor that the venom of what happened to Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson causes one's blood to boil.
That fact is exactly why Fair Game is one of the best films of the year. It is methodically produced by director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr and Mrs Smith, Swingers) who manages to create suspense where known facts to the audience exist.
Taking the action to the Middle East, as Liman does in Fair Game, we get to see Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame in action. Her steady control over this character, who had the ultimate control over who she was at any given time, should be considered the stuff of legend. Combine Watts' performance with Penn's and film fireworks explode.
Only one is shown and because of Valerie's fate, it ends terribly. Multiply that by eight and exponentially further in the sense of the lives left in the balance because Valerie Plame Wilson was considered Fair Game in the politics of selling the Iraq War, and you have one movie that is as complex and compelling as a Shakespeare classic.
Out of five stars…
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