State of Play
Starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Helen Mirren
Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland)
Rated PG-13 for some violence, language including sexual references, and brief drug content
Appropriate for ages 15+
Upon the death of his mistress, congressman Stephen Collins (Affleck) is scrutinized in Washington for his affair. When Washington Globe reporter and Collins best friend Cal McAaffrey (Crowe) discovers a connection between the dead girl and one a defense contract Collins is overseeing, he must decide to either ignore his integrity and protect his friend or get to the truth of the matter and tell the world.
I really liked most of this film. For about the first 3/4 of the movie, I was really into it. I found it to be exciting, relevant, and thought-provoking. Covering issues such as corrupt politicians, defense and private security contracts, journalistic integrity as well as the shrinking newspaper industry and growing blog universe all provide for much talked about interest items. Crowe and Affleck both turn in solid performances here and create believable characters. The rest of the case is pretty decent also, although I felt that Mirren’s character was over-the-top. In addition, the directing is fast-paced and the story is well-told.
But then comes the final act. Please don’t get me wrong. I like twisty endings. Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, and Tell No One had wonderfully twisted endings that caught me off guard. The difference between these other films and State of Play, though, is that I was not caught off guard here. Instead I was merely annoyed and a little confused. It’s all in the screenwriting, and this script couldn’t quite pull it off. B+