Films | Movie Reviews | Fair Game – Review

Fair Game – Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on January 8, 2011 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Janet Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Bill Pohlad, David Sigal and Kim H. Winther (co-producer)
DIRECTOR – Doug Liman
WRITER – Jez Butterworth (screenplay) & John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay), Joseph Wilson     (book “The Politics of Truth”), Valerie Plame (book, “Fair Game”)
CAST – Sean Penn, Naomi Watts
MUSIC – John Powell

Almost in a replication of the account of a real-life story of a woman wronged by political injustice and corruption of power that was No One Killed Jessica, comes ‘Fair Game’. It is a story of another woman, another nation, another system with different circumstances but with eerily similar motivations and machinations. Human nature and soul corruption, after all, does not change with borders.

Based on the books, ‘The Politics of Truth’ by Joseph Wilson and ‘Fair Game’ by his wife Valerie Plame, it is not a rousing rhetoric. Rather, it is an effort to explore and present the human side of those victimised by power and position. In the early 2000’s a number of world events changed the way nations related to each other and played their politics. One of them was the (now infamous) Iraq war. Caught in the quagmire, was a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, used as a pawn to derail her ex-ambassador husband who dares to question the real motives behind the war. It is her real-life story.

The film is no propaganda or an expression of an ideology. It simply aims to bring to light the bare basics of the controversy created with a touch of thriller.

As a document of a political power and human powerlessness, the film works well. It steers clear of sentimentality, focussing on the seriousness of the situation of the couple. Its straightforward screenplay seems committed to delineate the impact of the event and delivers a fine enough portrayal. It constantly juxtaposes the truth and myth of political power with individual powerlessness. It deftly juggles its emphasis on the personal and ideological side of the battle, nimbly playing one against the other and hence drawing a balanced portrait of what really transpired.

Commendable performances bring the film power. Naomi Watts’, mother-cum-spy-of-steel strikes a balance and keeps the character rooted never making a heroine or a pitiable victim of her. Sean Penn’s portrayal of an idealist in a career position lower than his wife that does not deter his individuality or love for her is brilliant.

The film works as an exposition of injustice yet takes no sides. It works as a mouth-piece for the author of the book, its central character yet manages to remain balanced in its portrayal. It does not shout or grab attention and hence may not be really memorable, but for the same it isn’t forgettable either.

Fatema H.Kagalwala

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