At the Movies: Fair Game

Now here’s a clever political thriller that’s even more compelling because it’s true.

Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) is a hard-working CIA agent just trying to raise two kids, keep her friends in the dark about her job and keep America safe from the terrorists.

With the Bush administration seemingly intent on invading Iraq, the CIA is under pressure to deliver intelligence that will prove Saddam Hussein has a nuclear weapons program. Valerie’s husband, diplomat Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), is sent to Niger to investigate the possible sale of enriched uranium to Iraq.

Joe finds no evidence and says so in his report. Imagine his surprise when the president, during a State of the Union address, contradicts him and uses the supposed sale as one of the reasons for going to war. Joe responds with an article in the New York Times.

This leads to a battle of wills and words between Joe and the administration which results in Valerie being outed as a CIA operative — costing her her job, endangering her contacts and almost ruining her marriage.

Torn from yesterday’s headlines, “Fair Game” presents a clearly biased but nonetheless gripping account of an unfortunate chapter in the war on terror. Watts and Penn deliver strong performances and while Valerie comes off fairly spotless Joe is presented with more than a few flaws.

Did it work for me? Yes, although it left me feeling even more contempt for the previous administration — and I didn’t think that was possible.

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