THRILLER; 1hr 46min
STARRING: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts
Bush whacked: Watts and Penn
With 2002’s The Bourne Identity, director Doug Liman proved his nose for propulsive, cerebral action. He centres on the personal here when retired US ambassador Joe Wilson (Penn) is sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate a rumoured sale of yellowcake uranium to Iraq. The visit sparks a fuse that will burn through Joe’s marriage and the high-flying career of his wife, covert CIA agent Valerie Plame (Watts), in this jaw-dropping real-life story.
Joe discovers that there was no sale. Meanwhile, Valerie learns that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Interesting times, and about to become incendiary as Joe reports on his findings in The New York Times and Valerie’s identity is subsequently leaked by the White House to journalists.
The two are political pawns and they deal with it very differently: Joe goes on the attack while Valerie, although summarily relieved of her duties, continues to hold her beleaguered professional peace. Penn and Watts do resonant justice to the Wilsons’ deplorable ordeal. He’s an outraged terrier while as the movie’s emotional core and a sold out victim of circumstances, she is his quietly resolute counterpoint.