Valerie Plame's (Naomi Watts) status as a covert CIA operative becomes front-page news after her husband, Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), writes a controversial article for The New York Times.
" You'd have to go back to All the President's Men for a better example of fresh American political scandal being turned into slam-bang, star-powered drama. "
" The spectacle is irresistible, as Liman and screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth unspool a story all about truth versus lies, professionals versus amateurs, villains versus heroes and patriots versus posturing careerists. "
" This isn't a message movie, per se, but a strong point of view comes through regardless: In the battle of principles vs. politics, politics always win. "
" Though based on a true story with a well-known outcome, Doug Liman's "Fair Game" is as suspenseful as any fictional thriller -- and considerably more tragic. "
" A crackling political thriller that deftly navigates the knife edge between all-too-familiar recent history and more universal personal drama. "
" The blind-siding of Valerie Plame wasn't fair and wasn't a game, but this cinematic outcome is a touchdown for true patriots. "
" For every spycraft scene, every illustration of the deadly blowback from the leak that Liman dramatizes, the movie has half a dozen scenes of a delicately balanced home life turned on its head by a government bent on destroying one of its critics. "
" Most of the scenes depicting the couple's domestic life are borderline-banal, and they miniaturize the political drama that plays out partly in public, partly in the shadows but almost always in a middle distance just beyond emotional reach. "
" It starts with thriller cliches and ends in sanctimonious preaching, but in between there are a couple of true things: a portrait of a marriage under stress, and a depiction of the arrogance of power that leaves a sharp after-burn. "
" Fair Game" is such a brutal and personal testimony to the consequences of dirty politics that it often feels too ugly to be true. Unfortunately, it is. "
" Naomi Watts settles for semi-inscrutability while Penn, engaging as he is, is encouraged, particularly toward the end, to deliver his performance from the lectern. "
" An absorbing, unhysterical thriller that largely rejects the cliches of the genre. "
" What the filmmakers do capture brilliantly is the human cost of espionage and political gamesmanship. "
" Naomi Watts and Sean Penn bring ferocity and feeling to their roles, turning a potent political thriller into a stirring, relatable human drama. "
" Things worked out between Joe and Valerie, and for their real-life models, who are now the subjects of a terrifically entertaining movie. But that does not mean that justice was done, or that truth prevailed. "
" The film is OK, but with more nuance and less message-hammering it could have been great. "
" There's a radical lesson in this story about the ways of permanent government and protect-their-own professionals ... But that's one that this film is too polite, safe and self-satisfied to ever bring to the screen -- let alone get in focus. "
" Unless your pulse races at the mention of Robert Novak, you'll be underwhelmed. "
" It seems to be doing everything right but still doesn't manage to leave you with a completely satisfied feeling. "
" Liman skillfully intercuts television news footage of the president and administration officials with a skilled cast of actors. "
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