State of Play

Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Peter Morgan, and Billy Ray
Based on State of Play, BBC One miniseries by Paul Abbott
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman and Jeff Daniels.
Release year: 2009
IMDB Rating: 7.5

Based on the BBC One series by Paul Abbott, State of Play is a political thriller which attempted to condense a six one-hour shows to a 127 minutes feature film. While the original took place in England, the feature film was set in Washington DC.

Washington Globe reporter Cal McAffrey investigated a story about robbery and a shooting which left one man died and another one in comatose which was then followed by the death of a woman who worked as an aide to McAffrey’s former roommate Congressman Stephen Collins. Initially thought as a suicide case, the death of Sonia Baker eventually developed into a more complicated case which involves PointCorp, a private defense contractor which was under investigation by the congress, of which Stephen Collins had a place in the investigation committee. Cal was later joined by Della Frye, his colleague at the Washington Globe in his investigation and both later uncover an even bigger case than what was previously expected.

For a political thriller, State of Play surely offers some interesting twists in the story. Still, however baffling the final truth is, it was rather poorly delivered. It’s probably due to rather average performance by anyone other than Crowe. Sure, Helen Mirren and Jason Bateman were fantastic, but Ben Affleck, Robin Wright Penn, and Rachel McAdams which have more important roles in the flick were not able to deliver equally superb performances. It is clear that Crowe dominated nearly the entire movie.

This movie reminds me to All The President’s Men which starred Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. Unlike Hoffman and Redford who were impressive, both McAdams and Affleck were unable to match Crowe’s performance. Nevertheless, despite this shortcoming, State of Play is still an interesting movie to watch. For the rating, I give it a 7.0.
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