Politics are a funny thing. Those who are passionate about government will argue policy until they have lost their voices. But let’s face it. People are stubborn. You could place mounds and mounds of evidence supporting your side in front of your opponent and it wouldn’t change their mind because everybody always thinks they are right. It’s a natural type of narcissism with which we are all born. I could type out countless instances where an otherwise innocent discussion has led to disbelief because of the ignorance of the people I’m talking to, whose simplistic mindset has caused them to disregard the facts on a range of topics. The funny thing is that those people would say they could do the same for me. It’s with this in mind that I begin this review of Fair Game. For those who disagree with the political stance of the movie (and who are less likely to give it a fair chance), there’s not much here you'll enjoy. But for all of my compatriots who represent themselves with the logo of the donkey, you’re going to find this movie mighty interesting.
The movie is based on the true story of Valerie Plame, a now ex-CIA covert agent who was outed by members of the Bush administration (namely Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney) to push their own agenda in support of the impending Iraq war, which effectively ended her career and placed her in the public scrutiny, damaging her reputation and endangering her life.
While it will be easy for conservatives to dismiss Fair Game for being merely another “liberal propaganda” film, the fact of the matter is that the evidence is there. There were undoubtedly some artistic liberties taken with the story, but this movie is based on fact and you need look no further than Google to confirm that. The CIA, who was studying the possible threat of nuclear weapons in post 9/11 Iraq, found little reason to believe that the country was a threat. Plame and her husband Joseph, played by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, respectively, were two of the people studying that possibility and argued against an invasion, but the White House went forward with one anyway. When Joseph saw the blatant misappropriation of the facts in Bush’s State of the Union address, he did something about it and wrote a damning piece for the New York Times, which set off a maddening chain of events. It was the speculation, not proof, of WMD’s in Iraq that took us to war and Plame unwittingly played a part in it.
What Bush, or rather his cohorts, did was use the population’s fear after the tragedy of 9/11 to justify an invasion of Iraq, taking raw data and purporting them into so called “facts.” This effect can be seen clearly now. No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq and there was no correlation between that country and 9/11, a fact even Dick Cheney admitted on Fox News in 2009, though the delusion still rages on. One brilliant, but maddening scene midway through the movie shows how easily the population was duped into believing the falsity. As Plame and her husband sit around the dining room table with their friends prior to landing in hot water, they listen as those around them echo the backwards speeches they heard on the news from Cheney. While Joseph and Valerie know the truth, their friends have become puppets to the aggrandizing effect of the lies.
While this may sound more like a political rant than a movie review, all of this matters if you are to find entertainment in it. If you find what I’ve written here disagreeable, you probably stopped reading a long time ago, but if you’ve been shaking your head in approving satisfaction, Fair Game will hook you like no other. It’s a finely tuned political drama with top notch performances and if you aren’t pissed off by the end of it, you’re probably associating yourself with the wrong party.
Fair Game receives 4.5/5