After some initial good press, there were boos as well as applause for the only American movie In Competition at its first screening at Cannes. Critics here feel it’s too conventional to be a Palme d’Or winner. One reviewer expressed surprise it was even included. That said, there is no clear frontrunner so far for the top award. The two favourites are Mike Leigh’s Another Year and Xavier Beauvois’ Of Men and Gods.
The London Daily Telegraph says that Sean Penn and Naomi Watts turn in characteristically agonized performances as Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, the CIA spy who was outed by the Bush administration. The Evening Standard says that director Doug Liman never seems to have a firm grip on the drama – or on Penn, who gives what the paper calls a “desk-bangingly” enthusiastic performance. The Irish Times says that the story fizzles out somewhat in the last reel: “Still, we can hardly chastise the writers of a film about the WMD deceit for refusing to sex-up their own dossier.”