Fair Game (I) (2010)

PG-13   |    |  Biography, Drama, Thriller

Fair Game (2010) Poster

CIA operative Valerie Plame discovers her identity is allegedly leaked by the government as payback for an op-ed article her husband wrote criticizing the Bush administration.

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  • Khaled Nabawy and Liraz Charhi in Fair Game (2010)
  • Sam Shepard and Naomi Watts in Fair Game (2010)
  • Brooke Smith in Fair Game (2010)
  • Bruce McGill and Kristoffer Ryan Winters in Fair Game (2010)
  • Doug Liman in Fair Game (2010)
  • Naomi Watts in Fair Game (2010)

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9 December 2010 | jonnyhavey
| Political Identity
"Fair Game" is a film directed by Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith") based on the memoir "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House" by Valerie Plame. Sean Penn is back after taking a two-year acting break since his second Best Acting Oscar for "Milk" in 2008. He plays the character of Politician Joe Wilson alongside Naomi Watts' portrayal of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Together these two tell the true story behind the weapons of mass destruction scare in 2002 and 2003 in Iraq that ultimately lead the United States to war. Valerie Plame is in the middle of the investigation of WMDs in Iraq. In order to learn more about the possible WMDs the government has Valerie's husband Joe travel as an ambassador to Niger in order to get information about the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq. Joe learns that there is not going to be a sale but the government twists the story. After viewing the State of the Union Address Joe Wilson decides to write an article in the New York Times stating the truth behind what he found in Niger challenging the White House directly. In response, the government declassifies Valerie's status as a CIA agent making her "Fair Game" and putting her directly in the public eye in order to bring shame to her husband and her family. This sparks a fire within Joe to fight the White House, but also begins to tear him and his wife apart.

"Fair Game" allows Naomi Watts and Sean Penn to let loose and take over the screen with their acting talents. Watts doe a very good job with her role portrayal of hard shelled Valerie Plame. She is able to create the stubborn exterior of Plame while showing her emotional side deep within. Congratulations is in order for her being able to stand out while on screen with Hollywood superstar and Academy favorite Sean Penn. All of the talk about the film has been directed towards Watts as Oscar season approaches, but it would be no surprise if Penn receives an Oscar birth as well. He is phenomenal in the film creating a very unique character breaking through the clichés that could have been. Both of these actors are able to give the film heart and show the strength that the couple had in order to fight the corrupt government sector leading to the fall of Scooter Libby.

The film is slow to start as the back story is built however, while the characters of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson are developed completely all of the other characters seem to be left behind. They come off as just walking through the motions making it very hard to connect and differentiate between them. This can be attributed to one of two things. Either the acting is less than adequate, or there are so many characters that Watts interacts with at the CIA it are hard to put a name with any of the faces.

"Fair Game" is a political thriller that needed to be made. However, it is your job as the audience to reach out and see it because of its limited film release. Go see it now in order to learn about the story and note that a Best Picture Oscar nomination may be waiting for this dark horse of this year's award season.

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Did You Know?


In the USA, the filmmakers took up residence in a sprawling former IBM office complex in White Plains, New York, that had been transformed into the offices of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) by production designer Jess Gonchor. Director Doug Liman said: "I decided to go even further with realism than I did with The Bourne Identity (2002). In this film, there would be no super-secret gadgets or satellites that can see through walls or anything like that. We've all been in government offices. We know the technology there is anything but cutting edge. The Bourne Identity exaggerated things, but here I was one hundred percent accurate."


Valerie Plame: Jessica McDowell, Gnosos Chemicals.
Chanel Suit: When do you leave Kuala Lumpur, Miss McDowell?
Valerie Plame: I fly to Taiwan Tuesday, then back to Düsseldorf.


The propaganda leaflets/pamphlets dropped by the helicopter in Baghdad is shown to have one side written in English and the other in Arabic, but the Arabic letters appear to be disconnected from each other. This might however be intentional because this mistake might have been done by the US army back in 2003.

Crazy Credits

Also in the closing credits, various letters are shown yellow, among the primarily white letters of the credits -- these letters seem to form a cipher code:


(the question mark at the fourth letter in the code is used instead of a letter, as one of the redacted surnames, as mentioned in another trivia item, is colored yellow)

Alternate Versions

Doug Liman re-cut the film for a "2018 director's cut" that runs about six minutes longer.


My Block
Written by
Ali Dee (as Ali Theodore), Zach Danziger and Julian Davis (as Julian Michael Davis)
Performed by Cham Pain
Courtesy of DeeTown Entertainment


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Biography | Drama | Thriller

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