Naomi Watts does this thing with her voice, when her character is angry, broken and engulfed with despair beyond repair. It’s a scream, but not one of terror. But rather of frustration and shock, which causes her voice to crack and shake. You can hear it when she finds out whose heart Sean Penn has in 21 Grams, or when she is begging for her son’s life in Funny Games.
That scream is one of the reasons Naomi Watts is one of my very favorite actresses. She brings a sense of conviction to every one of her roles, no matter how bad and foolish the script. And in playing real-life Valerie Plame, you can bet our ass that Watts has a lot to scream about.
Fair Game tells the story of Plame’s fight to discover who, and why, she was ousted as being a CIA operative. In her shock, Plame’s fight is led much in part by her liberal activist husband Joe Wilson (Sean Penn).
Wilson makes television appearances, writes Op Eds for "The New York Times," and yells at dinner party guests, all in an effort to clear his wife’s name. But that’s where Doug Liman’s (Swingers, The Bourne Identity) film is actually the most reserved. Fair Game doesn’t play best when the camera is constantly moving or the scene is set in a lavish part of the Middle East. Fair Game, for the most part, is best played out in rooms.
Take the Plame-Wilson kitchen for example. There is a scene in which Valeria and Joe have an extended conversation which escalates into a hellacious screaming match. It isn’t until the moment is brought down to silence, and your heart has a chance to catch up to itself, that you realize you’re watching two of the best working actors in movies fully flex their craft.
These are two people at the top of their game, and, as previously proven in the gut wrenching 21 Grams, Watts and Penn’s talents are raised when working off each other.
Fair Game is a good movie with an incredible story, secured by knock-you-ass-flat acting. The movie itself isn’t generating much awards buzz. No matter. Ms. Watts, the floor is yours. A-