Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in a Fact-Based Drama
Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Fair Game (2010) is part political thriller, part marital drama. The story centers on Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts), a dedicated CIA employee whose career at the agency is ruined when she is caught in the crossfire between her husband, retired US ambassador Joe Wilson (Sean Penn), and the George W. Bush administration. The events depicted in the film take place against the backdrop of the US invasion of Iraq.
In the movie, Valerie has a CIA job that requires travel to Kuala Lumpur, Amman and Cairo, while Joe, after a career in the US Foreign Service, is a consultant. Along with their twins, who look to be about four years old, the Wilsons live in a fine house in the pleasant Palisades neighborhood of Washington, DC.
Life is good for the Wilsons until about three months after the Iraq invasion, when Joe writes a New York Times op-ed piece questioning whether the Bush administration manipulated intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. A few days later, Robert Novak's Washington Post column states: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." Valerie suddenly finds her career at the CIA ended and her marriage thrown into crisis.
Fair Game is a well-crafted entertainment for grownups that features top-notch performances by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. The movie's sympathetic portrait of Valerie Plame provides the viewer with an emotional entry point into important issues involving politics and journalism.
Audio Commentary by Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson
The only bonus material on the Fair Game DVD is a feature-length audio commentary by Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, the real-life married couple the film is about. They have published separate memoirs, hers being titled Fair Game, while his is The Politics of Truth. In the audio commentary, they supply only a few additional details about what really happened, choosing instead to chat informally. While the listener doesn't come away with much hard information, you do get a feeling for what kind of people they are and how well Naomi Watts and Sean Penn were able to capture their characters in the movie.
DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
Total Runtime: 1 hour 48 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Some Language