Sunday, 27 March 2011

REVIEW: Fair Game

Did I mention I was married to Madonna? Dumped the bitch.

Sean Penn is undoubtedly a talented man. I do not begrudge him his success nor his fame. What I do begrudge is that he's allowed his ego and colossal arrogance make him a less interesting presence on screen. I could give a shit how any movie star acts in real life because its not my problem, but I'm pretty sure Sean Penn should have been the Marlon Brando of the 90's and 00's, and while there's a scattering of that, his work in the assassination of Richard Nixon and maybe Sweet and Lowdown, he's made a series of safe, predictable choices that don't test him, challenge him or show much of variety on that same Mystic River performance. For someone who is called and based on talent alone probably is the best actor since heaven spat out the earth, he's become an almost cowardly actor, albeit one with talent to burn. Its just, he's burning it and not using it.

In that sense then, its a shame because Fair Game is surprisingly abrupt with its politics, being quite literal in its portrayal of the white house as the bad guy and is overtly critical of the Bush administration. Yet even with a two year cushion, American audiences have taken an out of mind, out of sight policy to recent political malpractice, as if people stop mentioning it then it will cease to be true. So nobody will see Fair Game. Which is a shame, because despite its urgency to turn thing into a simplified good vs evil story, and perhaps an unconvincing central relationship, which I'm going to blame more on Penn then Naomi Watts. She's not at her best here, but she gives a solid, committed performance, but Penn almost turns off in any scene that doesn't expressly deal with politics. His speeches about political corruption are captivating, yet he just looks bored any time he has to communicate emotion, as if it were part of the job he has to get through in order to be in a film he ideologically agrees with. I mean that's great for him, but its kind of frustrating for me.

Elsewhere there's some nice supporting turns from Noah Emmerich and Michael Kelly, and the plot moves swiftly and is engaging, even if a little all over the place. But I can't help but feel this film would have been stronger if as much energy had been devoted to making my care as much about the central marriage as it did about white house corruption. Then it could have been great. Because honestly I love films that wear their politics on their sleeve and strongly believe there should be more of them, but I know they can be slightly better then this OK but ultimately underwhelming film

Rating: 6/10

No comments: