Doug Liman’s sharply observed movie is based on the memoirs of Joe Wilson -- a former U.S. ambassador who wrote a New York Times editorial in 2003 disputing the manipulated intelligence cited by the Bush administration as pretext for invading Iraq -- and his wife, Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose career ended when her secret identity was revealed by a conservative columnist. The casting is perfect: Naomi Watts not only looks like Plame, she’s also credible and affecting as the gutsy covert operative who wears multiple identities in her dangerous work. And Sean Penn doesn’t so much impersonate Wilson as channel him in a nuanced performance that reminds us what a great actor he is. The movie’s Wilson is principled, arrogant, a bit of a blowhard, and his self-righteous but understandable bluster places his wife in jeopardy. The Wilsons survived the ordeal, spoke out, and wrote books. But the same can’t be said of other victims of the deceitful invasion, including the thousands of dead Iraqis who were victims of gruesome torture, brutal home raids, and indiscriminate bombings. The public’s memory is short, but as continual revelations prove, history won’t forget.
Director: Doug Liman
Writer: Jez Butterworth and John Butterworth
Producer: Bill Pohlad, Janet Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Akiva Goldsman, Doug Liman and Jez Butterworth
Cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Bruce McGill, Brooke Smith, David Denman, Noah Emmerich, David Andrews and Louis Ozawa Changchien