Monday, November 8, 2010


Movie Review: Fair Game
4 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

Valerie Plame, the CIA agent who was wrongfully outed in 2003 after her husband ruffled the government's feathers with a probing New York Times editorial, is about the least interesting thing in “Fair Game,” a political thriller adapted from Plame's memoir that positions her as the central character. As played by Naomi Watts, in an irritatingly overacted performance, Plame is seen as a backstabbed do-gooder who's blank and boilerplate. Her efforts to balance espionage and domesticity are intriguing (as they always are in the movies), but she has little inner life save a supposed impenetrable patriotism. What takes precedent is everything that's swirling around her – a tornado of post-9/11, wartime wheelings and dealings whose jagged debris still gets under the skin today. As Plame's husband, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), observes in the movie, what was done to Plame wasn't so much an offense against her and her family, but part of a myriad of governmental offenses against the American public. That's what makes the movie so engrossing – not the struggle of one, but the retrospective fury of many.

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