Cast: Senn Penn, Naomi Watts, Brooke Smith, Bruce McGill, Michael Kelly
Doug Liman (Bourne trilogy) treads on familiar territory here in this riveting and fast-paced thriller based on true events that threatened to cause embarrassment to George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq following 9/11. That is until we realized G. W. was simply a full-time embarrassment.
Naomi Watts stars as the power-blonde CIA operative Valerie Plame who is responsible for assessing the weapons capability of Saddam’s Iraq. Her husband, ambassador Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), is sent to Niger to investigate whether there has been the capability to move 500 tons of uranium and ship it to hostile governments. His conclusion is no, No, NO!
Despite this, Bush proclaims that the British Government has found evidence of African states aiding Middle Eastern countries in developing weapons grade plutonium and a single CIA agent in a quorum of twelve is convinced that aluminum tubes found in transit to Iraq would be used to create a nuclear bomb. They were in fact glorified peashooters.
In essence, Wilson and Plame are saying well before any invasion that there is no WMD capability in Iraq, which we all know was the primary argument for invasion. This is not helpful to Dick Cheney’s agenda and Wilson’s willingness to go public with his views threatens to tear the family apart.
From the quite outstanding opening sequence, when Plame leads a counter-proliferation mission in Kuala Lumpur, to the political intrigue perpetrated by Scooter Libby, Fair Game does not give you a moment to take breath. The fusing of real news reports with the acting of the excellent Penn and Watts gives a real sense of just how far the US Government was willing to go to cover up the truth; the truth being the first victim of war as a US senator once remarked poignantly.
There can be criticisms aimed at the objectivity of this movie but the same could be said of the original news reporting form CNN and Fox, and the screenplay is based on the published accounts of Plame and Wilson. This is not a new story, but a harrowing reminder of how true the land of the free isn’t.