What are the chances for Fair Game?

This year there is only one US film is in the running to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes. So with the best of auteurs and cineastes from across the world all with their eyes on the prize, what chance does the US entry into the Official Selection stand?

Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in the movie Fair Game
Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Fair Game

Fair Game is a political thriller based on true events, and is directed by Doug Liman who directed the first Bourne movie and produced all three. Starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, the film is based on a true story of double dealing and paranoia in Washington DC at the time of the George W Bush regime.

Fair Game focusses on The Plame Affair, an episode when an undercover CIA agent (Valerie Plame, played by Watts) had her identity as a spy revealed by (she believes) the Bush regime, because her husband (Joseph Wilson, played by Penn) published articles doubting intelligence that was being used to justify the war. As Green Zone focussed on the mysterious absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction during the Iraq War, so Liman takes on another murky aspect of that conflict in his new film. Surely it can be no coincidence that Liman directed the first Bourne film, while Paul Greengrass was at the helm of Green Zone and Bourne 2 and 3.

What sort of a film can we expect? A worthy drama, à la Sean Penn at his worst, or a high-action political thriller? Well, Liman is possibly best known for both Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smith, two movies which have ‘High Octane’ written on the can in bold red letters. The Director of Photography said in an interview on YouTube that it’s “a film to look out for, with a tremendous script, with tremendous talent and it’s a story that needs to be told”… “it’s very, very fluid and it’s very organic and it’s incredibly exciting..’.

Here’s a clip released on You Tube:

Not many political films have been selected this year, so the movie stands out in that respect. But will this appeal to Tim Burton, the famously whimsical president of the Cannes jury? Only time will tell, but  it certainly looks like we’re in for some quality acting, and hopefully some thrills too, all set against against probably the most contentious events of recent political history – the invasion of Iraq.

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