Fair Game (2010)
aka: Who Put The Blame on Plame?
Director Doug Liman’s Fair Game focuses on a Bush Administration smear campaign leveled at Joe Wilson, a retired U.S. Ambassador and his wife, Valarie Plame, a CIA operative way back in 2003. It’s an account of the circumstances surrounding the efforts of key White House figures to undermine and deflect Wilson’s published criticisms that the Bush Administration had railroaded the American people into an unjust war based on lies and duplicity. It’s got all the makings of a crackerjack thriller – nefarious actions by corrupt officials at the highest levels of government, spies, lies and a bad guy named Scooter.
Liman and the scriptwriters chose to focus much of the plot of Fair Game on how having the White House gunning for them affected the Wilson’s personal relationship, but they shouldn’t have. The undoing of this script stems from overstating the personal part of the story and missing its most compelling element – that what the Administration did to this couple was a complete atrocity. The relationship between Wilson and Plame is of interest of course, but it’s dwarfed by the sheer outrage that accompanies being made aware of the gigantic misuse of power and the propaganda machine that led to war in Iraq.
There was an All the President’s Men waiting to be made about this story, but unfortunately, this just isn’t it. Given the powerhouse cast, an A-list director and a great story needing to be told, that they only got about half way there is a crying shame.