Fair Game (2010)
Now that the Iraq war has drawn to a close and the dust is finally settled on the illegal war that was carried out during the last decade, Hollywood is starting now to question whether it was right to go to war. It feels a bit late that Fair Game (2010) when it was released, When the rest of the world had accepted that both President George Bush jr. and Prime minister Tony Blair decided to ignore all rational intelligence and go to war, telling the rest of the world, gripped in fear that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (The Anti-war angle is set to continue). I remember during the time leading up to the war the continuous coverage on the news of the weapons inspections, finding nothing anywhere. Yet the build-up to war continued until we believed that they had. Ignoring the likes of Hans Blix and many more who knew there was nothing there. Two governments used the sense of fear that gripped the worlds to send troops the a meaningless war that only did one thing of any real good, to bring down Sadam Hussain who was a dictator to his people. Ever since the end of the first gulf-war they had given up the programme. He was never a threat to the outside world. The only real threat was us on them.
This is my opinion on recent history based on my recollections. It’s important I write this out before even touching on the film.
Which is where the people who tried to speak out were squashed in the name of standing by your country at a time of war, to be a good citizen and stand by your government. Which is all well and good for the husband Joe Wilson (Sean Penn) of C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) who inadvertently in doing her duty to find the truth is seen to be a traitor.
We spend the first half of the film following the agent who along with her colleagues are being hounded by the Bush administration to gather evidence that Hussein is making nuclear weapons. Each source is proving them otherwise. The uranium cakes and the aluminium cylinders are their only leads. But nothing is conclusive, not really. The same as adding 2 and 2 together and getting 5. There is a sense of fear and obligation. The wrong information and leads ultimately get through to Bush who has Hussein on his axis of evil. (possibly also his father not winning the last gulf-war too)
When a break in protocol is breached, the suggestion of an agent sending a spouse on a mission is leaked, all hell breaks loose for the Willson family when ex-ambassador pleads with the country that he didn’t know his wife didn’t send him, going from one news programme to the next. Putting his marriage on the rocks as Valerie is forced to leave her job and all her obligations on the line with others, no longer allowed to keep her word, having to stay silent. To not speak out to the nation that was believing what is was told and not really questioning it.
The focus never really shifts from Valerie, even as we see the passionate ex ambassador arguing his heart out to be later seen as a traitor when an investigation that seem to proves he was lying on his mission. There is real back-bone in this film, but is laid on a bit to heavily, or maybe that’s just the British perspective on things. When the nation turns on these two people when one wants to speak out whilst the other wants to remain true to her principles.
It’s hard to stand-up against the tide of opinion and stand the abuse, but if you know your cause to be true you will win through, sounds cliché, which it is, but most of the time later on you are believed when others crumble under pressure and that’s the core of this film. This film had to made, but the time maybe a little too late. Opinion had already changed by the first few years of this war. Hollywood has always been more cautious on political issues, only really touching hot issues at times, not wanting to really offend. Maybe this is where the industry falls down, whilst other countries really question, Hollywood with all its brash and money is too scared to really ask the important questions, unless its later on, or just the once to a small audience.
- Hay Festival 2013: Hans Blix: ‘Some Iraqis think the war was my fault’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Hans Blix urges Britain to relinquish Trident nuclear programme (guardian.co.uk)
- Hans Blix Tells UK It Does Not Need Trident – But War Is Already a Little Nuclear (transcend.org)
- Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme (consortiumnews.com)
- Cameron and Blair accused of Iraq war cover-up (philosophers-stone.co.uk)
- Blair: Arguments on Syria intervention ‘same as Iraq’ (itv.com)
- How did the 2003 Iraq War both contribute to spreading the idea of democracy in the Middle East, and discredit that idea at the same time? (3quarksdaily.com)