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Fair Game


Stars: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Sam Shepard, Michael Kelly, Noah Emmerich, Bruce McGill, Jessica Hecht, David Andrews, Polly Holliday, Ty Burrell

Director: Doug Liman

The early episodes of this account of the 'outing' of CIA agent Valerie Plame (a solid performance by Watts), detailing her assignments in the Middle East, are mildly interesting; the rest of the film, alas, is dull.

Incensed by America's decision to go to war in Iraq on falsified information, Valerie's activist husband Joe Wilson (Penn) publishes a rebuttal, based on his own experiences as a US emissary in Africa. In retaliation, high-up members of the Bush administration see to it that a piece is published mentioning Joe's wife as a covert CIA agent, effectively ending her career and leaving her Middle East contacts exposed and vulnerable.

This is one of those occasions, all too numerous these days, where a fascinating true story just doesn't make for a dramatic film, much as director Liman tries to make it do so. And the ins and outs of American policies will fly over the heads of most British audiences.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour by FotoKem.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Mar 2011