Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fair Game: Consequences of Opposing US Warfare State

Fair Game (2010 film)

[This film depicts one small aspect of how the US government--in this case the Bush Administration--tries to drive the nation into illegal, foreign aggressions.   Leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Admin. claimed falsely that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger for Hussein's alleged nuclear weapons program.  Joe Wilson was sent to Niger to investigate Bush claims ; he found no evidence for those claims.   He was then dismissed from his job and his wife was outed as a covert CIA agent.   Media defenses of the Admin.'s claims offer examples of how the corporate media supports US wars.    D]

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Fair Game is a 2010 thriller film directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.[2] The film is based on Valerie Plame's memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.[2] Naomi Watts stars as Plame and Sean Penn as Plame's husband, Joseph C. Wilson.[2] It was released in 2010 and was one of the official selections competing for the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.[3] The film won the "Freedom of Expression Award" from the National Board of Review.



[edit] Plot

Plame's status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.

[edit] Cast

[edit] Production

Production took place in Washington, D.C.[4] and New York City.[5] In October 2009 the movie news website Corona's Coming Attractions published an exclusive review[6] from a source that had been invited to a test screening of the film. The reviewer gave the rough cut a positive recommendation calling it, "A wonderful human drama with political suspense that should interest anybody no matter how they vote."
The film had a public screening during the Abu Dhabi film festival on October 21, 2010 and it got a generally positive review. There was also a Q&A session with the director afterwards.
There was a second preview screening in Brisbane, Australia as part of the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) on October 28, 2010.
This film marks the third pairing of Sean Penn and Naomi Watts after 21 Grams and The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

[edit] Critical reception

Fair Game has received largely positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 80% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 130 reviews, with an average score of 7.2/10. The critical consensus is: It struggles with the balance between fact-based biopic and taut political thriller, but Fair Game brims with righteous anger – and benefits from superb performances by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.[7]

[edit] Historical accuracy

There has been dispute as to the historical accuracy of Fair Game. Two claims in the film caused vastly differing responses among political analysts. The first is that Joe Wilson's fact-finding trip to Niger served to debunk a British claim that Saddam Hussein had earlier tried to obtain uranium from Niger. In a November 2010 Washington Post column about the film, Walter Pincus and Richard Leiby, two reporters who had covered the Plame affair, wrote that this characterization was accurate.[8] In the National Review, journalist Clifford May disagreed, writing that, rather than debunking the uranium claim, Wilson's trip and report had actually bolstered it, because "the most important piece of information Wilson brought back from his mission to Africa was that a high-level Iraqi trade mission had visited Niger in 1999."[9] A December 2010 Washington Post editorial also disagreed, citing the 2004 British Butler Review, which stated that the original claim by the British government was accurate.[10] In response, journalist David Corn, writing in Mother Jones, wrote that, contrary to the Butler Review, the CIA had stated in a private memo that the British uranium claim had been an exaggeration. [11]
The second controversial allegation in the film was the suggestion that Plame's name had been leaked to the press, and specifically to Robert Novak, by someone in the White House, as retribution for Wilson's critical public comments about the uranium claim. The Washington Post editorial and May both stated that the source for the leak was instead State Department official Richard Armitage, who was himself an opponent of the Iraq War and thus would have no reason to try to discredit Wilson.[10][9] Pincus and Leiby, on the other hand, called this portion of the film accurate.[8] Corn agreed, writing that, though Armitage had been a source for the leak, he may not have been the only source, and that Karl Rove may have also leaked the information.[11]
There was more consensus about other aspects of Fair Game. In the film, Valerie Plame is shown working closely, and covertly, with a group of Iraqi scientists until her cover is blown; it is implied that the scientists were then abandoned as a result. Pincus and Leiby, May and the Washington Post editorial all agreed that Plame never worked directly with the scientists, and that the program did not end when her name was revealed.[8][9][10]
Pincus and Leiby also took issue with film's depiction of Plame and Wilson's appearance in a profile in Vanity Fair magazine after Plame's outing - the two are shown in the film agonizing over whether to appear in the profile, but it is not shown that their decision to appear in a fashion-style photograph alongside the profile ended up becoming, in Pincus and Leiby's words, "a PR debacle for them."[8]
On the other hand, Pincus and Leiby praised the film for getting it right on several other controversial points, including indicating that Plame had been a covert operative at the time of her outing (some reports indicated that she was not), and that, contrary to the original Novak column, Wilson had not been chosen to go on the Niger fact-finding trip due to a recommendation from his wife.[8]

[edit] Home media

Fair Game was released on Blu-Ray & DVD March 29, 2011 (2011-03-29).[12]

[edit] References


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