I’m not sure if anyone really knows who Valerie Plame is, or was (I sure didn’t, until today). However, at Cannes 2010 we learnt from new thriller Fair Game that she’s a former CIA agent whose memoirs cite a chilling statement by the ever-mentally-absent George W. Bush: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Innocent statement? Not when it implies Britain led the way into Iraq.
It’s a contraversial film; this much is apparent. But the themes, people and infamous press statements it deals with are, by and large, factual and taken from Plame’s memoirs directly. It’s been transformed into a thriller, but this much as a given if you take the subject matte into account. As Britain emerges, rather awkwardly, from the Iraq Inquiry – days of questions directed at some of the country’s most important political figureheads during the war’s opening stages and the time surrounding them – we’re confronted with a film that, without a shadow of the doubt, makes its main theme the fact that the USA had nowhere near as bigger part.
It’s by no means a patriotic thing, but it’s all a bit hard to swallow coming from the United States of America, and considering the film comes right out of Hollywood, the British critics are likely to tear into it like a pack of savage wolves. Although the then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that it was “unfortunate” that Dubya chose to slip that politically dangerous comment into his speech unplanned, Plame’s husband’s public objection to the statement in the New York times cost Plame her job, and so begins the conspiracy.
However, journalists this side of the pond have taken to it quickly, citing it as a fascinating display of control and corruption from within the upper ranks of the Bush administration. To see a CIA agent being fired for their spouse attempting to protect the reputation of a government that wasn’t his own is nothing short of shocking, and to see it transported onto the screen will be nothing short of thrilling. This could end up being one of the biggest political films surrounding the Iraq war for some time, and is definitely going to be worth a look if you’ve ever wondered why no one stopped good old George from making that particular faux pas in the first place: they did, but they were silenced. Scary stuff.