OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Fair Game

From the director of The Bourne Identity...

Poster art for "Fair Game"Ostensibly the story of Valerie Plame, who wrote Fair Game: How A Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed By Her Own Government, Fair Game stars Naomi Watts, as the  hyper-efficient CIA operative who has mastered the art of lying professionally, an essential skill for the successful undercover agent. But her thriving career becomes collateral damage in the amorphous War On Terror when her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), writes an op-ed piece attacking the Bush administration’s rationales for the Iraq War. ‘Scooter’ Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff, leaks her identity to columnist Robert Novak in retribution. The leak destroys everything she’s worked decades to achieve, but the worst is yet to come.

Liman gives the action the you-are-there immediacy that distinguished his earlier tale of international intrigue, The Bourne Identity. Documenting history as it’s still being written is inherently tricky, but Liman and screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth’s assured grasp of the material recalls the clear-eyed verisimilitude of All The President’s Men rather than the fuzzy, overwrought mythologizing of W.

Liman’s film is powered by a subtle but unmistakable sense of outrage: It’s ultimately a tale of heroism in the face of fearsome, powerful opposition, but as stubborn pride masquerading as ideological purity proves Wilson’s Achilles heel, the film’s heroes reveal themselves as flawed to an almost fatal extent, and messily, fascinatingly human.

– Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club

 

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