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Posted on 8/30/11 07:12 PM
Fair Game starts off exciting and engaging but ends up being quite awful and unsatisfying. Despite its ending, the film handles the process of mishandling intelligence and facts for political manipulation fairly well, especially from the perspective of those insiders involved. Its actually a great story about how those in power get to abuse the integrity of professionals.
However, this story stops working as a film when it relies on Valerie Plame leaving Joseph Wilson as the plot point for the conclusion. The 3rd act ends up a schmaltzy vomit-inducer as Plame is finally convinced to testify before Congress all while Sean Penn delivers a pseudo-narration, à la Commissioner Gordon at the very end of The Dark Knight.
Director Doug Liman should have known better: scenes of standing ovations completely disarm films of their seriousness and immediacy. It works for films like Mr. Holland's Opus but not for Fair Game because such a happy ending has in reality eluded us all. We are still paying for the damages done by that Presidency.