This will be an attenuated review because I cannot give it justice
without resorting to discussing politics, and I am prohibited from
doing that on CCM-L by that evil taskmaster………..me.
Briefly, it relates the story of Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA
agent revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit
her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying
that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about
weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.
You now have exactly what results when you portray a political
situation. A historical docu-drama in which critics will line up
precisely according to their personal political biases, and that’s
exactly what happens. Go look at the reviews. Where is the middle
ground? No one knows. The story is told from Plame’s viewpoint which
is very clear. None of the other factions involved were empowered to
offer variant opinions. So it’s best left there for what its worth.
That said, if you consider the film on the merits of skillful
portrayal of the personalities, it’s a winner. Naomi Watts is just
about a dead ringer for the real Valerie Plame and masterfully
exhibits the breaking point when her personal life and career
collapse. Sean Penn is marginally a little too indignant (his
trademark) but meshes perfectly with Ms. Watts. Karl Rove and
“Scooter Libbby (and by proxy Cheney) are portrayed as so
spectacularly evil they glow in the dark. You’ll remember Bruce
McGill (D-Day in Animal House) as a CIA wonk.
I think this film is a very interesting and probably reasonably
accurate drama that examines a lot of tough questions about what’s
“fair game” in power politics. However, whatever impression you get
will be influenced by your personal politics because one way or
another, the movie will look like it’s taking sides.
I give it four of five dead pan, straight faced lies.