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Fair Game: Quality Movie Review

Updated on March 15, 2016

"Fair Game"

I just returned from watching a second movie in two weeks that left me angry. The first was the documentary Inside Job which detailed the individuals and events that brought the country and the world to its knees with the collapse of the housing bubble and subprime mortgage market in 2008. Fair Game is a quasi documentary of the Valery Plame affair and the lies about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction by the Bush administration leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.The title of the movie is a remark attributed to Karl Rove who referred to Valerie Plame as "fair game" following the publication of her husband's NY Times op-ed contesting the White House's "yellow cake from Africa claims."

Fair Game was directed by Doug Liman (director of The Bourne Identity) and written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth using source material from Plame's and Wilson's books about the episode. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn were superb as Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson. David Andrews captured what I imagine to be Scooter Libby's personality and character. Adam LeFevre was suitably porcine and slimy as Karl Rove. Sam Shepard appeared in a cameo as Sam Plame, Valerie's father. Chet Grissom played the cowardly director of CIA operations, who bore a striking resemblance to Bush's CIA director George Tenet. Brian McComish played Steven Hadley and Michael Goodwin, David Addington who, with Libby, at Dick Cheney's behest, ran a shadow CIA operation cherry picking "intelligence" which they used to pressure the CIA to accede to their false claims that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program, mobile biological laboratories and stocks of poison gas as well as to the dramatic claim by Bush on television before the invasion that Iraq had bought yellow cake uranium from Niger. Bush and Cheney were depicted with television news clips.

The movie interwove two themes--the battle between the Cheney and his henchmen and the CIA over intelligence on WMD and the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent following her husband's op-ed disputing the false yellow cake uranium claim by President Bush and-- the damaging effect Plame's outing and dismissal by the CIA had on her marriage to Wilson. They were separated for a period after Plame's 34-year career at CIA was ended by the Bush administration's revelation that she was employed by the intelligence agency following Wilson's op-ed denying the administration's claim that Iraq had bought yellow cake uranium from Niger. Scooter Libby took the fall for others in the Bush administration (presumably Cheney and Rove) and was indicted and convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and sentenced for his role in Plame's outing. His sentence was commuted quickly by President Bush, but Bush refused, to Cheney's chagrin, to pardon Libby so that he would be able to resume his career as a lawyer.

The movie ended with an eloquent speech by Sean Penn/Joe Wilson about the meaning of our republic and the duty of all citizens to help preserve and protect it. I hope the speech will be available on YouTube. Everyone should watch it.


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    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Harvey, my wife and I are enjoying "Emerald Eyes," your warm and entertaining family memoir.

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 

      9 years ago from Illinois

      Ralph, Never saw the movie, so I can't agree or disagree. I'm just worried about my poor book. H

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      To eovery, gee, I didn't realize that President Clinton had captured Bin Laden and just let him go. No doubt, someone will make a movie about that. Why haven't I heard about it. Must be those damn lame stream media types.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan


    • profile image


      9 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      You won't get any disagreement from me on this one. Great review. I'm going to post a link to your review under my review of the film.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The facts are that the Bush administration, in violation of the law, revealed the identity of a covert CIA agent and then covered it up. This endangered CIA sources of information, led to false conclusions about non-existent WMD, ruined the career of an outstanding CIA agent and nearly ruined her marriage. Bush ignored Wilson's report that the yellow cake from Niger story was phony and made a fool of himself before the world asserting that Iraq was "buying yellow cake uranium from Africa." Bush may not have known that this was not true, but the CIA did and Cheney and his henchmen did. Perhaps you should watch "Inside Job" and "Fair Game" and then make up your mind. But it's clear, as usual, you've already made up your mind. Anyway, thanks for your comment.

      [It's true that the movie did embroider the story a bit, but the basic facts are beyond dispute, except by the likes of Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and Bachman.)

    • eovery profile image


      9 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Where is the outrage when Clinton let Osama Bin Ladin go. Where is the outrage on the other things that went on before Bush?

      I won't see movies like this because I do not think they are very factual, but are biased and prejudice.

      You can be mad if you want, but check the facts first.

      Where the rage on the fact that Bawney Fwank and other top democrats would not let Bush and congress regulate the banks before this all fell through. It appears it was foreseen, but the dems would not let it happen.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      I want to see both of these movies. Thanks.


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