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DVD Review: Fair Game (2010)

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It’s all about appearances, people. Just ask former CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson (Naomi Watts), whose secret life working for the US government was exposed one fateful day to the public, which in-turn caused a whole heapin’ lot of trouble for Valerie and her family, including her hubby Joe Wilson. The drama starts after retired ambassador Joe (Sean Penn) is asked to help the CIA out and travel to Iraq to determine whether or not the country has any weapons of mass destruction.

Unfortunately for the warmongers that were in office at the time, Wilson concluded that there weren’t any WMDs. This doesn’t stop President Bush from declaring that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the entire world in a 2003 State of the Union speech, which leaves Joe very angry.

“You lie!,” Joe shouts to the President. Oh, no, wait, that was a different Joe Wilson reacting to an entirely different situation with an entirely different president. Still, the sentiment was the same, I s’pose — and this Joe Wilson winds up writing a strongly-worded letter to the White House. Shortly thereafter, any credibility the Wilson Household had with the Western World is put on trial: Valerie’s career is ruined on account of a “leak,” while Joe’s integrity is labeled as disreputable when the government tries to pass the guy off as a loon.

And, just as the White House tried to pass the Wilson Family off as a couple of charlatans, Summit Entertainment has tried to pass Fair Game — the 2010 film adaptation based on the novels Fair Game (by Valerie Plame-Wilson) and The Politics Of Truth (written by Joe Wilson) — off as an “riveting thriller” (hey, it’s all about appearances, remember?). In actuality, Fair Game is just a political drama, but its real-life source material serves as a stern reminder that the world of politics is about as reliable as an auto mechanic’s estimate.

Now then, despite the fact that most of what is depicted onscreen really happened and can make one sick to their stomach — whether they believe it actually occurred or not — I found Fair Game to be about as interesting as sitting indoors and looking at a photo album with someone’s great aunt on a perfectly-good sunny afternoon. The film did nothing for me. I understand the emotion present and the can empathize for the characters (and their real life counterparts), but I can’t sympathize with them. The movie bored me. It’s that simple.

Don’t get me wrong: the movie is exceptionally well-made. The writing is spot-on, the acting is superb, and the direction is about as tight as it can be. It just isn’t my kind of movie: there weren’t enough nekkid women, fiery explosions, man-eating monsters or funky waka-waka music scores to keep my interest for 108 minutes.

Summit Entertainment presents Fair Game in an anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 presentation. The video quality here is as exceptionally good as you expect a modern film to look in Standard Definition, with solid colors and contrast. The disc’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack delivers a fully-engrossing aural experience (which is impressive, considering how dialogue-driven the film is). An optional Spanish audio mix is also included, and English (SDH) and Spanish subtitles are also available.

Apart from a few trailers/promos for other Summit releases at the beginning of the disc, Fair Game’s selection of special features is restricted to an audio commentary with authors Valerie Plame-Wilson and Joe Wilson. It’s a very dry listen, even for those of you who are thoroughly “in” to the film.

In short: Fair Game is an entertaining political drama, and best suited for those of you who appreciate such things.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.