Fair Game reminds me in 2011 that I am still upset about the events of 2003. A covert CIA operative's identity was revealed in the public sphere for political point scoring. This was during a time when the majority of people still expected to find evidence of a covert WMD program in Iraq, the main reason for the invasion.
The George W. Bush administration does not come across in a very positive light in this film, not that it does in any other arena either. 'Scooter' Libby and Karl Rove specifically are shown as calculating and evil men. This is a much starker portrayal of administration figures than Oliver Stone's W. where the key policy makers were more caricatured and mocked than seriously made to be inherently evil.
Sean Penn as Joe Wilson is the film's bright spot. He values the tenets of democracy, raises awareness of the cherry picked and faulty intelligence which the administration spun to convince the public for the need to go to war, and then fights the lonely man's fight. The case is deliberately refocused when the question is no longer 'Why did we go to war' but 'Who is Joe Wilson' and did you know his wife is a covert CIA agent.
The director, Doug Liman, has most of his prior experience in the action genre (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Bourne Identity) but has worked with intrigue and suspense before. The script follows Valerie Plame's book of the same name quite closely, but focuses more on Joe and his role than her book does. Overall, this film upsets me. It is not about the fact that the reasons for the Iraq War were faulty, but that the administration went after the people who called them on their lies. This is an important film to remind the viewer to question authority, especially when they are as inept as the George W. Bush administration was.