State of Play is a taut thriller based on the BBC TV Mini Series of the same name, which aired in 2003.
The film tells the story of reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) and his attempt to solve the suspicious death of a congressman’s research assistant. Added into the mix is the fact that the congressman, Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), is an old friend of McAffrey’s.
As the pieces of the puzzle unravel McAffrey is teamed with up and coming political blog writer Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) and the clash of McAffrey’s old school journalism and Frye’s new school journalism mean they often have different ideas about how the story should be presented but they work together to break the story.
State Of Play takes a sinister turn as the plot progresses and the shadow of the PointCorp operation is cast over the whole story. McAffrey and Frye have to redouble their efforts as they get nearer to the truth and find themselves in deeper than they could ever have imagined.
This is a film full of great acting – Russell Crowe will most likely get the plaudits and rightfully so, this is a very natural performance from him. Affleck really brings a believable character to the screen with congressman Collins as the politican watches his political and personal life unravel in front of the media.
Dame Helen Mirren as McAffrey’s boss puts in a classic ‘ballbreaker’ turn as Cameron Lynne and Jason Bateman is at his best with a restrained and darkly comedic role.
It was great to see Rachel McAdams step out of the rom-com safety zone (Wedding Crashers/Family Stone etc) and her bold perfomance as Della Frye cements her as a potential ‘A-List’ actress from here on out.
I would be interested to see the original mini-series to find out what was changed in bringing the time down from 6 hours to just over 2 hours. It’s been reported that a fair bit of the story was shuffled to reduce the running time and turn the story into a cohesive film experience.
It’s difficult to go too much into the story without giving anything away and it would be a real shame for you to read what happens here rather than watch it for yourself.
State Of Play isn’t your average thriller – it’s been a while since I’ve seen one as well done and with as strong cast performances as this. I really enjoyed The International but State Of Play is Premier League in comparison.
I strongly recommend you check this one out whenever you get a chance.