State of Play

Starting life as a six-part television series on BBC One back in 2003, State Of Play has now become an Americanized movie with all the bells and whistles included. A big cast, expensive production values and a major ad campaign that sees its four main actors staring at you from what seems like every bus stop and roadside sign imaginable are just a few of its US traits. It does beg the question though; will it actually be any good?

And in a rare departure of form it proves to be quite a thrill ride and has a few strong acting performances at its core. Russell Crowe downplays the epic and is quite convincing as Cal McAffrey, the old school newspaper reporter and the always-excellent Helen Mirren is a lot of fun as the paper’s editor and McAffrey’s boss Cameron Lynne. The usually disposable Ben Affleck is also quite good as the politician at the centre of events Stephen Collins.

Giving away too many details of the storyline would be unfair but a few things can be reveled. The story involves seemingly unrelated criminal events, a big corporate conspiracy, self serving politicians and an interesting glimpse into the newspaper business as it gets challenged by the new electronic media.

In this type of film, timing is all and the ending has to not devalue the entire proceedings. Using those criteria, its American masters have succeeded. This version of State Of Play has few hiccups along the way and delivers a film that will have you donning your Sherlock Holmes cap and second-guessing everyone’s intensions and culpabilities. Also the obligatory twist at the end will catch more than a few out.
Rob Hudson
official website

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