Political Piece: Fair Game

While the subject matter feels slightly recycled, the films insight and message is an important one.


In the same vein as the recently released Green Zone (coincidentally directed by Paul Greengrass who took over the Bourne franchise from the director of Fair Game), Doug Liman\'s Fair Game is the latest Hollywood production based upon a non-fiction novel to tackle the post 9/11 buildup and subsequent fallout of the US-led Afghanistan and Iraqi military campaigns.

Rather than focus on the pursuits of a single frontline soldier caught up in the midst of America\'s early 2003 invasion of Iraq, Fair Game focuses on the exploits of suburban mother and covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson (Naomi Watts) and explores how she and her former ambassador husband Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn) were railroaded out of Washington by the powers that be.

Although the subject matter feels familiar, Fair Game still manages to provide a rich insight into the power plays and political machinations within and amongst the intelligence community and inter-governmental departments of Washington during the pivotal period leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

The political as well as the personal implications of these events are explored, particularly in relation to the manufacture and manipulation of intelligence in order to justify government policy and the subsequent strain this imposes on the Wilson\'s marriage. The performances of Watts and Penn as the formidable Washington-based couple are superb.

Channeling his Oscar-winning performance in Milk, Penn delivers a rousing speech in the final scenes of the film outlining the democratic duty of all citizens to hold their government to account. While the sentiment is topical, others may view it as archetypal American preaching.

Interspersed with real life footage and associated dates and locations, Fair Game provides an engaging insight into the actions of the US intelligence community leading up to the invasion of Iraq from the point of view of one of their own, and will appeal to those with a penchant for political thrillers. However, others expecting the espionage exploits of their favourite 00 agent may be sorely disappointed.

Fair Game is released November 25.


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