On July 6th, 2003, The New York Times published an article written by Joseph Wilson called “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” which, essentially, said that the Bush administration manipulated some intelligence related to some possible yellowcake in Africa that was a supposed part of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program to scare US citzens in his State of the Union Address, and to justify heading into war. Only…there wasn’t any to be found. Because Joe Wilson was sent to Niger to find out. And what he found was that there was no yellowcake and he believed that we went to war unnecessarily.
What spiraled from this op-ed piece was a reaction by the government in which Joe Wilson’s Wife – Valerie Plame – becomes a target. They needed to change the story. They needed to discredit Joe Wilson…and they needed to destroy Valerie Plame. FAIR GAME, in the words of Karl Rove. Her career as a CIA operative becomes public and her personal and married life begin to spin out of control.
Whenever you take a historical story and build it for the big screen, you run the risk of, well, losing something. And in this case, with a story that is historical, but not quite in the past enough, you run an even bigger risk. But I am tell you, i was riveting. It was stirring. It was suspenseful. And it was GOOD.
I worry, though, that there are two things that are going to keep people from going to see this movie.
and the trailers:
I worry that we have seen this same suburban mom gets outed as a CIA agent before. If fact, I saw Nothing But the Truth at the Toronto International Film Festival two years ago and, well, it kind of has the same feel. But this movie…it was nothing like how they make it seem.
Also, Penn’s political history certainly plays a factor in this. There are people who are going to shy away from this film simply because of his involvement, which would be a crying shame, because Sean Penn gives a brilliant performance in this movie.
His was almost as great as Naomi Watts as Valerie Plame.
She didn’t just PLAY Valerie Plame. She became her.
Interesting, in the movie, when Joe Wilson is speaking to a crowd of University students, he says that a woman approached Benjamin Franklin outside of the Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and asked…”Well, Doctor, what have we got…A Republic or a Monarchy?” and he replied, without skipping a beat…”A Republic, if you can keep it.”
If you can keep it.
Interesting concept, that.
Fair Game hits theaters on Friday, November 5th.