Directed by: Doug Liman
Produced by: Jez Butterworth; Akiva Goldsman; Doug Liman; Bill Pohlad; Jerry Zucker; Janet Zucker
Written by: Jez Butterworth; John Butterworth;
Starring: Naomi Watts; Sean Penn
Music by: John Powell
Cinematography: Doug Liman & Robert Baumgartner
Release date(s): May 20, 2010
Running time: 108 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $22 million
Gross revenue: $22,473,534
The first thing I liked about the film is its courage. Based on the recent history leading to the war that ousted Saddam Hussain, the film has the balls to look at the subject squarely and call a spade a spade. And this too within the framework of a political thriller.
Like so many other theories, the film also tries and prove that there was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Bush administration went to war knowing this. But whose fault was it? The film doesn’t try to answer this question. Against this sweeping background, the focus of the film is narrow and personal. The fight of individual justice.
Based on the autobiographical works of former CIA covert agent Valerie Palme and her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, the film focuses on the couple’s fight for their rights in the face of the state’s ‘betrayal.’
When America went to the war citing the reason that Iraq has purchased uranium from Niger to make WMD, there are people in the CIA who disprove the theory. As the administration was not ready to listen, Joe Wilson writes a column in The New York Times explaining his personal investigation that Niger did not sell any uranium to Iraq. As the piece creates a furore, to discredit Wilson, someone from the government releases the news that his wife is a covert CIA agent. All hell breaks loose. Her cover blown, Velerie’s life is in dangers, all her operations go kaput, and many of her agents in several middle eastern countries are killed. In such a scenario, when the White House is your enemy, how do you seek justice?
The best part of the film is Sean Penn as Joe Wilson, who plays Joe as real movie character, a man of integrity, despite all odds. He is amply supported by Naomi Watts as the centre of the whole jazz. In their third film together, following 21Grams, the ease between the two light up the screen.
But the best part of it all is the script which employs a matter-of-fact tone without squirm. There is a sub plot involving an Iraqi scientist and his sister, a doctor in the US, to counterbalance the struggles of Valerie and Joe, and at the end, the plot was left hanging.
That said, Fair Game is an important political film released in the recent times.