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exclusive news

Exclusive: Test screening review of Fair Game

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanks to our longtime friend Adam54 of Coming Attractions' message forums, we've landed an exclusive in the form of an early review for Fair Game, the upcoming thriller-drama starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. The actors play Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, the married couple who were at the centerstorm of a Washington, D.C. scandal over Plame's outing as an undercover CIA operative by Washington Post journalist Robert Novak. The scandal, known in the press as "Plamegate", destroyed her career and rocked the White House as accusations were leveled against the Bush administration and its allies. Ambassador Wilson made the charge that the Bush administration had knowingly leaked his wife's covert status as a direct response for his public statements that the administration played up or outright lied that Iraq had uranium in its possession to make nuclear bombs. While Bush used the uranium scare to build his case for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was later proven that Iraq never had in its possession the material.

Plame later wrote a memoir describing her ordeal entitled Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. In March 2007 it was announced that Warner Bros. had purchased the screen rights to Plame's book as well as the life rights to herself and Wilson. Akiva Goldsman's Weed Road Productions and Jerry Zucker of Zucker Productions began to develop the movie. Doug Liman, director of Jumper, Mr. & Mrs Smith and Swingers, came onboard to direct.

A test screening for Fair Game was held a few days ago. Our inside man caught this early cut of the film and sent us this report:

"Fair Game is really a tremendous, thought provoking film. It's based on the same titled memoir by former CIA Agent Valerie Plame, who of course worked for the agency as an undercover spy until her husband wrote an op-ed piece declaring that the Bush White House lied about Sadaam Hussein's efforts to buy yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Naomi Watts plays Plame (and as shown at the ending, really looks a lot like her), and plays her wonderfully. The story is set up through a sequence at the beginning showing her in action in the field, and in the CIA headquarters being completely dedicated to her job. She loves what she does for her country even at the price the travel and the secrecy puts on her family life.

"She's married to former Ambassador Joe Wilson, played by Sean Penn in what very easily could (and should) be his next Oscar nomination. Wilson is a man in turmoil almost from his opening scene, dining with friends who think they know everything about the world. They don't, Wilson doesn't, but he certainly knows more about the Iraq situation than they do and is glad to tell anybody about it who will listen. His expertise gets him looked at (through no suggestion of his wife) and requested of by the CIA to take a trip to Niger to investigate reports that Hussein was looking to buy uranium from that country, which Wilson was a leading expert on. He agreed, made the trip, found that there was no possible way that a purchase of yellowcake was made, and reported that back to the government. The administration, as we now know, chose to ignore this report, and used the incorrect intelligence as a key basis in its case for war.

"This destroys Wilson, who starts to speak up in the press, and the leak of his wife's identity was made. We're led to believe that the order of the leak was made by Karl Rove to Scooter Libby (played by a hilariously serious David Andrews), and the rest is history. Plame's career is destroyed, her marriage (and life) nearly go along with it, and a major investigation into corruption in the Bush White House is launched, ultimately leading to the fall of Libby.

"The film clocked in at roughly 1:50, and paced tremendously well. There was a side-plot they spent a bit too much time on involving an Iraqi family and Plame's valiant efforts to save them from the invasion, but that was really the only downfall of the film. Watts is excellent, at least as good as she was in Eastern Promises, and Penn is as good here as I've seen him. It's directed by Doug Liman who did an excellent job of it, and I believe he also served as DP, so kudos to him as I often forgot the camera was even rolling. Truly a wonderful human drama with political suspense that should interest anybody no matter how they vote. 9/10."

Right now Fair Game doesn't have a scheduled release date.

-Thanks to Adam54, our own deep cover source for being our mole in the hole.
Jakester
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Posts: 5753
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

I thought this was the one where Cindy Crawford took her top off. T

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
Adam54
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Posts: 2082
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

You would. Don't belittle my review. :P

TeddyKGB
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Posts: 1
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

I guess I'm the only one who had the unfortunate experience of watching Nothing But The Truth, which basically was this story from the point-of-view of Judith Miller, the Times reporter who went to jail for protecting her source in the Bush administration.

Rod Lurie made her a hero (and a lot better looking, in the guise of Kate Beckinsale), when in fact, she was a shill for a heinous war. Awful film.

jandshe
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Posts: 2
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

Sounds like an interesting movie.. I read the book, which was good, although there were a few inconsistencies in her stories- many of which were pointed out in Ishmael Jones' "The Human Factor."

But the real reason I am commenting on this is to point out something inaccurate about your review. Plame was not a "CIA Agent." Agents of the CIA (and that term is rarely used) are the sources/informants who are recruited by CIA Case Officers.. Plame was a Case Officer. Might sound like a case of semantics, but there really is a big difference, and the use of "Agent" always seems to take away from what a writer is trying to express.

Adam54
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Posts: 2082
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

Ahhh, I did not know this. I just went with the generic "agent" term that I personally have heard used quite a bit in the past, but had no idea about the semantics of it all. Thanks jandshe! :) It's a great movie, I hope you get to check it out whenever they release it.

jandshe
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Posts: 2
Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

Yeah- its a common mistake outside of the Community... I think part of it is that they don't want to be put into the same classification as an FBI Agent, etc.

Looking forward to the movie, though.

steandric
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Posted: 4 years 51 weeks ago

When you wrote: "Watts is excellent, at least as good as she was in Eastern Promises, and Penn is as good here as I've seen him." Do you mean that if Penn is "what very easily could (and should) be his next Oscar nomination.", Watts should at least also deserve to be nominated for her "excellent" performance, as opposed to Penn's "good" one? Penn has already had 2 Oscar Awards, so what about the "always" under-rated and over-looked, if not repeatedly "snubbed" or "ignored" Watts? When you seemed to be generous towards the "good" Penn, don't you think you're a bit unfair, again, towards the "excellent" Watts, by saying nothing about her Oscar chance? Especially at this time when your review is being widely circulated amongst the professional Oscar buzzers?

Adam54
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Posted: 4 years 50 weeks ago

My review is being circulated?? This would hit next year's Oscar scene, I'd imagine. But to try to answer your question, I hold Penn to a higher standard than Watts. Not to take away from her in any way, but because he's just that much better, in my opinion. But If I could write this over again, yes, I'd probably call them both Oscar worthy performances. That was an oversight to mention it for one but not the other. "Good" Penn to me is about the same as "excellent" Watts, if I hold them each at different standards.

Man I hope that makes some sense. Yes, both are Oscar Worthy. It's been a couple weeks now and everything about this movie is still sticking with me. Especially their performances. My apologies for accidentally "snubbing" Naomi in the original review. Definitely wasn't my intent.