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Blu-ray Reviews

FAIR GAME Blu-ray (2010)



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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 23 2011 - 04:26 PM


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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted March 23 2011 - 04:45 PM

Thanks for the review Michael.  Having the actual people do a commentary about their own story is a very interesting special feature, especially considering what the story was.  I think that feature alone may make this worth a purchase for me.

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted March 24 2011 - 06:39 AM

Sounds really interesting, including the commentary.

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted March 24 2011 - 07:46 AM

People should realize that almost all of this film is fiction.  When Novak wrote his collumn, Plame was a desk jockey in Virginia (a WMD analyst), and had not done anything covert for years.  If she had wanted to, she easily could have stayed at the CIA.  You do not need covert status to be an analyst.  As a consequence of Novak's collumn, Plame (1) lost the ability to do covert work in the future if she had wanted to; (2) got a photo spread in Vanity Fair; (3) got  $1 million+ book and movie deals; (4) got a lucrative public speaking deal (I think).  The person who told Novak that she worked for the CIA was Richard Armitage, a man who was not a booster of the Iraq war and who mentioned her name inadvertantly.  Valerie Plame's name should not have been put in the press, but it was not the big national security deal this film suggests.

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 24 2011 - 08:51 AM


Originally Posted by JoeDoakes 

. . . but it was not the big national security deal this film suggests.


This sounds like some extreme claims that have been made from time to time, but it certainly doesn't resemble the film I saw. Have you seen Fair Game?


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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   JoeDoakes

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Posted March 24 2011 - 09:05 AM



Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 



This sounds like some extreme claims that have been made from time to time, but it certainly doesn't resemble the film I saw. Have you seen Fair Game?



 I was basing my comment upon the summary in the review.  Perhaps I could have phrased it better in terms of "big national security deal."  Fair enough.



#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted March 25 2011 - 03:10 AM


Originally Posted by JoeDoakes 

The person who told Novak that she worked for the CIA was Richard Armitage, a man who was not a booster of the Iraq war and who mentioned her name inadvertantly.


As noted in the review, the film discloses Armitage's role but doesn't pursue the issue in depth, because its focus, after the public disclosure, is on two people and their marriage. This isn't All the President's Men.


Still, the Armitage connection is intriguing, especially given what Novak had to say after he no longer felt obliged to protect his source. Novak had been rebuffed by Armitage for years, but suddenly in the summer of 2003, he got word that Armitage wanted to see him. The meeting was off the record, only the two men were present, and no notes were kept -- so the only way to know what happened was to ask the two participants. As is so often the case, their accounts differed -- in this case, wildly. Armitage said his mention of Plame's name was inadvertent. Novak said it was knowing, deliberate and accompanied by detailed information.


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#8 of 10 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted May 06 2011 - 02:36 AM

Since Novak is dead, we will never know for sure.


Your review of the film mirrors my thoughts about it (just watched it a few nights ago). It is indeed not All the President's Men (though it will be viewed as such by a number of people). In some ways it reminds me of Green Zone--each film creates a superficial impression of "insight into the truth" about the WMD issue without actually specifically doing so (indeed, each filmmaker--coincidentally connected via their work on the Bourne series--explicitly denies doing so in interviews I've read).


I've used Green Zone (along with its "inspirational" text--Imperial Life in the Emerald City) in my Modern Middle Eastern history class. Fair Game might make an interesting addition to the assignment in future semesters (I'll have to read the books associated with the film in the near future). I have an ongoing research interest in the ways feature films influence public perceptions of history and while I usually focus on topics that are not so contemporary--circumstances have dictated that I turn my attention to events much more recent than my usual territory for historical feature films. Both Green Zone and Fair Game have the potential to increase the level of scepticism about the "path to war" above its already considerably high level, though they are likely most persuasive to those already so inclined. They also represent an ongoing trend in using mainstream film to voice scepticism about a current or very recent conflict--something that would have been unthinkable in the Second World War, or even the Korean War, but which began to manifest itself in the 1960s. Perhaps there is fodder for further historical research here (on historical feature films in general, as well as the films made about the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan).


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#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted May 06 2011 - 03:17 AM



Originally Posted by PaulDA 

Since Novak is dead, we will never know for sure.




I doubt we'd know, even if he were alive. When the only records of a conversation are the memories of the two participants, and the conversation has since become a subject of legal inquiry and public controversy, how can either speaker's memory be trusted? In any case, Novak provided a detailed account in an online column that I find fascinating on a number of levels.


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#10 of 10 OFFLINE   PaulDA

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Posted May 09 2011 - 01:31 AM



Originally Posted by Michael Reuben 




I doubt we'd know, even if he were alive. When the only records of a conversation are the memories of the two participants, and the conversation has since become a subject of legal inquiry and public controversy, how can either speaker's memory be trusted? In any case, Novak provided a detailed account in an online column that I find fascinating on a number of levels.

I agree that even if he were alive, we'd very likely never know. Just my professional (historian) reaction to the fact that his death means we will definitely never get a final answer. It is something I keep stressing to my students (history does NOT provide us with definitive answers nearly as often as people think).


I find such films (Green Zone and Fair Game) interesting in the same way I find JFK interesting--they present a perspective on important events that feeds a sense of distrust and paranoia (though JFK, owing both to its subject matter and its director, has had far more effect than the other two) that is perhaps always latent. It will be interesting to see if Green Zone, Fair Game and any other similarly themed feature films about the Iraq war will have a cumulative effect similar to that of JFK (I find that most of my students' "pet theories" about the JFK assassination are directly lifted from scenes found in Stone's film--even if the students have not actually watched the film. Perhaps, in a few years, my students in Modern Middle Eastern history or US history courses focused on the post 1945-era will have notions about the "path to war" to Iraq that are influenced by a collective of films including Green Zone and Fair Game.) Questions like these are why I have an ongoing research interest in the ways feature films influence public perceptions of historical events.


Thanks for the link to Novak's column. It does indeed raise a number of interesting points and I would include it in any discussion of the events surrounding the Plame affair if I made it part of a course (along with the film, at least, and possibly the books attached to the film).



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