Despite his claims to the contrary, director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith) has made an issue pic. Watts does a fine job of getting the politics and personality across, but Penn's casting is a double-edged sword. He's believable, impassioned, and brilliantly captures both the moral and self-publicising tendencies of his character, but when Penn does issues there's always the risk of feeling preached to. The script pushes him across that line on occasion, with some of his dialogue approaching speech-making even away from the lectern
But it's a solid film, and the story is certainly one worth telling, for both its political and personal truths. As well as sympathy for its protagonists, it generates a genuine feeling of anger and disgust at those who would lie to the world and happily distort fact with scant regard for the people twisted and torn apart in the process. Despite its flaws, this movie feels necessary.
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