State of Play
Director: Kevin MacDonald
A thriller about righteous newspaper reporters seems boldly nostalgic in 2009, but it’s a “B” movie with an “A” cast furiously pounding the pavement.
Director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) and his committee of screenwriters have, like newsroom rewrite aces, boiled down the essentials from a lauded BBC miniseries of the same name, shifting locales from London to Washington, D.C.
Russell Crowe is rumpled and cynical Cal McAffrey, scribbler for the fictional Washington Globe. He has no use for the Internet, especially when his cost-conscious editor (Helen Mirren) compares him unfavourably to pert new Globe blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams).
Cal and Della, of course, end up working together, connecting the dots of a case that begins with the apparently random shooting of two strangers in an alleyway and the accidental subway death (or was it?) of a politically connected woman.
An ambitious congressman (Ben Affleck) and his wife (Robin Wright Penn) are drawn into the intrigue. There are more red herrings in State of Play than in a Moscow fish market, but Macdonald has chosen not to overstate the print-vs.-online feuding that ceased being interesting around the time Al Gore invented the Internet. Extras include deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.