Placing the Plame
Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) is a CIA agent with the only people knowing outside of the agency being her husband and her family. Her position in the agency is relatively important as she is involved with several top secret operations overseas. Her husband Joseph C. Wilson (Sean Penn) is a US diplomat with connections to the Niger and is asked by the CIA to head there to find out if they have sold uranium to Iraq for the construction of weapons of mass destruction. Despite his report stating that no Uranium was sold to Iraq, the Bush administration state the opposite when they make an official statement saying they believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Infuriated Wilson sends an article to the press stating his findings and how no Uranium was being sold but in turn Plame's cover is revealed by someone which not only leads to her and her family being put in jeopardy but many of her contacts overseas in danger.
What happens when someone who doesn't really follow politics watches a movie based on a political true story directed by a man who has made some exciting action thrillers. Well for me it makes a movie which occasionally spiked my interest but more often than not struggled to grab me. And I don't mean jut the story as Liman's free flowing, jittery camera work also proved to be a road block to my enjoyment.
Now I guess I was never in the target demographic for those who "Fair Game" was made for as whilst I keep a rough tab on political situations I don't have the depth of knowledge of others or follow political stories as closely as others. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a movie which does take a political story and dramatizes it and I can appreciate that those with a deep interest in politics especially that surrounding the claims of WMD's in Iraq would find this movie fascination as it brings to light one of the unsavoury aspects of the time. In fact whilst it failed to grip me the story itself was unsettling as to the power and arrogance of a country to do what they liked.
But it is not just the story which didn't grab me as unfortunately I found Liman's use of a constantly shifting camera frustrating. The way it nods up and down and so leaves you with this image where one minute an actor's face can be at the top of the screen and then falling of the bottom the next just looked poor. It is the same with the way it moves about, shifts down to something unimportant and then rocket back up all contributed to a style which lead to me finding it preventing me from really getting into the unfolding drama.
The one thing which didn't cause me issue was the performances as through out they are all of a high calibre with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn doing a good job of playing the husband and wife who find themselves in the middle of a political storm. But in a way it feels like this movie is made for those who already know the story as there is no depth of character presented for those who watch with no awareness of the true story.
What this all boils down to is that "Fair Game" probably is a fantastic movie for those who follow politics and take an in depth interest in political situations. But for those who come to "Fair Game" as a movie fan will find not only it hard to get into but director Doug Liman's love of hand held camera work a bit too annoying.