Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cannes Dispatch #6.5 - "Fair Game"

No real entry today, as I attempt to get some sleep/sanity - the Cannes whirlwind has a way of wearing you down. Twitter-esque thoughts on Doug Liman's "Fair Game" though - those who were confused about why the director of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Jumper" had a film in the most prestigious film competition in the world were thoroughly justified. "Fair Game" isn't ever bad, exactly, but it's nothing to write home about (ha). It's a pretty generic geopolitical thriller, right down to the irritatingly boilerplate score (pompous thumping percussion! little bits of electronic stuff!), and anyone who has a basic handle on the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal isn't going to learn anything here (one of the few novel insights the film has - about informants left in the lurch when Plame left the CIA - is completely forgotten by the film's second half). Naomi Watts and Sean Penn have pretty good chemistry together as Plame and Joe Wilson, but Penn's presence strikes me as a casting error - when Joe Wilson goes on a TV tour criticizing government officials, the meta-recognition of Sean Penn being shrill about politics on TV drowns out the character we're supposed to be seeing.

Light screening slates for Friday and Saturday, so expect plenty of coverage forthcoming!

-Raj Ranade

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