Title: Fair Game
Country: USA, United Arab Emirates
Language: English, Arabic
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director/Cinematography: Doug Liman
Writers: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame
Music: John Powell
The true event gag plus a Doug Liman’s vehicle in his adept political/thriller genre (remember THE BOURNE IDENTITY 2002 or MR. AND MRS. SMITH 2005?), what a tantalizing premise! The fun would be tactile.
The film is also Naomi Watts and Sean Penn’s third collaboration, after 21 Grams (2003) and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), before seeing it I expected it would more alike the latter, a political thriller, however eventually it turned out to resonate more with the former, a heavily dramatized familial core is the main undercurrent.
Maybe “thriller” could be a moot here, there are no assassination, killing, car chasing or other usual stunt here, the narrative is sinuous for more than one hour and finally approaches the main event, thanks to two lead’s splendid performances which largely dissuade the film from becoming a coarse melodrama which covers a story beyond its grasp. The two-play confrontation between the two is the killing for me, although this time is by far not their best performances, their vibes are still fascinatingly touching.
The film reaches its apex almost near the end, which barely leaves any time to chart more details from the final courtroom debate, in my opinion, should have been a much more interesting and drastically investigated selling point, but anyway the ending is acceptable for me, not quite a spirit-inspiring one, instead more heart-felt and pragmatic (the no-one-could-break-our-marriage profession sounds harsh and sardonic though).
Finally, I intend to detour the suppressing “individual Vs. government” topic and underlay my grudge that the film’s overtone is to make Americans feel better about themselves and meanwhile, we still have no clue of whether the hapless Iraq family has survived or not eventually.