Slowly but surely I’m watching 2010 Cannes films and this Doug Liman film has an interesting story told with anger (very good anger) that many should watch for general educational purposes about international politics but most of all, about unfairness in public service as well as in the private sector. Can’t help to think that something like what happens here surely will not happen if main character was a man. Sigh.
Film is based on real events and I’m sure that takes many creative liberties to make story interesting to viewers, so won’t go into the controversial discussion about story accuracy as if was accurate to real events, then film will be a documentary. Story is based on Valerie Plame’s memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House, and tells about the incidents that happened before and after Valerie Plame was ‘outed’ as a CIA agent in a newspaper article.
Have to share that I don’t particularly like Naomi Watts performances mainly due to the fact that I believe she chooses roles that doesn’t fit her well -of course there are some exceptions like, for example, Mulholland Dr.- so is no surprise that before Valerie is exposed I didn’t like her performance that much, but after the exposure Watts really gives an impressive performance. Sean Penn as always is great as Plame’s husband; but I feel that his character was more supporting the lead than sharing the screen probably due to the script. Still this is not bad as absolutely makes Plame the center of story and film.
This is a film that slowly will grab your attention even when pace is fast since the beginning, but as soon as story starts to touch the Iran “situation” the degree of your attention increases until the climax when you see the reason why Plame’s name end ups in a newspaper article. After that moment movie became a very intense ride for me.
Production values are on the very good side and film in general is very good, but I believe that what make this film worth watching –besides actor’s performances- is the story and the way Doug Liman chose to tell it. For me it’s not easy to understand why film was an official selection in competition for the Golden Lion at Cannes as film feels and looks like a ‘normal’ mainstream American movie; but I imagine that was selected because the story it tells and actor’s performances. After watching was no surprise that film won the Freedom of Expression Award at the 2010 National Board of Review and lead actors got nominations at the 2010 Satellite Awards as well as script in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Not a masterpiece but a film with a very interesting story and as such I do recommend it to those who like good mainstream American movies with excellent stories centered on a woman.
Watch trailer @MOC