Rashid Irani's review: Fair Game | india | Hindustan Times
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Rashid Irani's review: Fair Game

A dramatisation of a real-life espionage story that touches on provocative issues, Fair Game plays like a political thriller. Even viewers who never followed the case of the vilified covert CIA agent and her diplomat husband are likely to relate to their dilemma.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2011 23:46 IST
Rashid Irani

Fair Game
Direction: Doug Liman
Cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn
Rating:*** 1/2


A dramatisation of a real-life espionage story that touches on provocative issues, Fair Game plays like a political thriller. Even viewers who never followed the case of the vilified covert CIA agent and her diplomat husband are likely to relate to their dilemma.

Adapted from the memoirs of the protagonist couple, the script is often manipulative, even overly preachy. For the most part, we are presented the embattled duo’s version of events.

Naomi Watts portrays Valerie Plame Wilson, the spy whose identity was exposed by the Bush administration after her husband (Penn) wrote an anti-government article questioning America’s rationale for invading Iraq. The consequent downward spiral of their careers as well as their marriage is forcefully depicted.

While illustrating the extent of political chicanery, the direction by Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith), who also serves as cinematographer, is self-indulgent at times, but never to the point of diluting the film’s impact. A sub-plot involving an imperiled Iraqi family is skimmed over.

On the other hand, there are pitch-perfect performances from Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, paired for the third time following 21 Grams and The Assassination of Richard Nixon. Essentially a portrait of two upright citizens outraged by their government’s shameless abuse of power, Fair Game is well worth the price of a ticket.