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State of Play (2008)

James MacAvoy , Bill Nighy  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James MacAvoy, Bill Nighy, David Morrissey, John Simm, Kelly Macdonald
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, Anamorphic, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000YRY8BG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,131 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "State of Play" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Six episodes on two discs
  • Commentary by Paul Abbott and David Yates on episode 1
  • Commentary by Hilary Bevan Jones, Mark Day (editor), and David Yates on episode 6

Editorial Reviews

One of the BBC's best, this six-part thriller wastes no time building intrigue. It begins like an entry in the fast-paced Bourne series with a foot chase through London, followed by two execution-style hits. Moments later, MP Stephen Collins (David Morrissey) finds out his research assistant, Sonia, was killed in an accident. Newspaper editor Cameron Foster (Bill Nighy) and reporters Della (Kelly Macdonald) and Cal (John Simm), Stephen's former campaign manager, intend to establish whether the events are related. When they realize he's following identical leads for a competing paper, Foster drafts his son, Dan (James McAvoy), to join their investigation. Before long, the team discovers Stephen was having an affair with Sonia. When the news becomes public, his wife, Ann (Polly Walker), leaves him. Then Della finds that the murder victim, a 15-year-old "bag snatcher" from the wrong side of the tracks, contacted Sonia the day she died. He swiped her briefcase, hoping for cash, but found incriminating photos instead--Sonia's death may not have been accidental. From that point forward, it's a free-for-all between the politicians, the press, the police, and big business. An ill-timed affair will complicate matters further.

State of Play embodies British television at its finest. It's also a particularly pulse-pounding portrayal of the journalistic life, a small-screen successor to fact-based films like All the Presidents Men and Zodiac--but with a lot more tea and biscuits. Writer Paul Abbott (Touching Evil) and director David Yates (The Girl in the Café) provide low-key commentary for the first episode, while Yates, producer Hilary Bevan Jones, and editor Mark Day contribute to the sixth. Like 1989 miniseries Traffik, the basis for Steven Soderbergh's award-winning movie, State of Play would later be adapted for the big screen by The Last King of Scotland's Kevin Macdonald. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Stephen Collins is an ambitious politician. Cal McAffrey is a well-respected investigative journalist and Stephen's ex-campaign manager. En route to work one morning, Stephen's research assistant mysteriously falls to her death on the London Underground. It's not long before revelations of their affair hit the headlines. Meanwhile a suspected teenage drug dealer is found shot dead. These (apparently unconnected) events expose a dangerous habit within modern government of dancing too closely with the corporate devil. Friendships are tested and lives are put on the line as an intricate web of lies unfolds.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 132 people found the following review helpful
"The more compelling moments of the series come not in the various subplots surround the mystery in front of us--although it is a great mystery indeed--but in how indoctrinate and incestuous the interplay between politics, media, and industry are in the modern information age. All three stand at cross-purposes, yet secretly acknowledge that none can succeed without careful consideration of the other two. Vital communication often runs deep underneath the observed interactions between the groups, taking place in back-room meetings and clandestine e-mails, and through veiled threats." Judge Arsenault

Having just come off the viewing of 10 weeks of the critically acclaimed HBO's TV show 'The Wire', I needed a pick me up, and wowser did I find one. This BBC 6 show series that aired in 2004 has it all and it is an even toss up with me as to which show is best, 'The Wire' or 'State of Play'. In both series the acting is superb. Bill Nighy as the wry, buttoned down, full of himself editor of the Herald hits the mark every time and won the UK's Best Actor award. Polly Walker known to most of us from HBO's 'Rome' is the politician's wife and is flawless. David Morrissey, as the politician, John Simm and Kelly Macdonald as the intrepid reporters for the Herald mark this cast as fully realized.

The shotgun murder of a drug-related killing, and the apparent accidental death of Sonia Baker, a researcher for Member of Parliament Stephen Collins seems unrelated. The one difference is the makings of a scandal when the news of Sonia's death hits the streets. Stephen Collins the Parliament member who employed Sonia is visibly shocked and upset when her death is announced.
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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best drama I've seen in years!! January 15, 2008
State of Play (Miniseries)
Outstanding story, great cast and superb direction! The cast includes some of the best British actors of current day. A great story that, for once, doesn't talk down to the audience. If you appreciate a good suspense film try this one. Everyone I have shown this to loves it. I can't imagine how this can be shortened into a feature length movie, at least the film is using the original writer. Here's to hoping that there will be a second season of this series.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC at its best! December 19, 2007
I caught most of this series on BBC America, but the Tevo missed the last episode and I've been waiting with baited breath for the commercial release in the US. This is so well scripted and acted, it is as good at television gets these days (this and The Wire). I'd definitely suggest seeing the BBC original over what I imagine will be a mediocre Hollywood adaptation that should be out in late 2008.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left bereft after 'State of Play' was over March 22, 2008
This riveting mini-series from the BBC is television drama of the highest order. We watched it over a period of six weeks on PBS. On the seventh Sunday, we were bereft. Its brilliance is undeniable.

The cast is incredible - John Simm (Life on Mars), David Morrissey (later to attempt self-immolation of his career in Basic Instinct 2 (Unrated, Extended Cut)), Bill Nighy (Still Crazy and countless other classic, untouchable pieces of droll excellence), Polly Walker (Rome - The Complete First Season) and Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men)...oh yeah, and a smaller role by one James McAvoy, since gone very large in little things like, oh, The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition) and Atonement (Widescreen Edition). He gets pumped up here with middle of the cover box treatment, but his role is smaller.

The excellence of the production hangs on the intersection of journalist Cal McCaffrey, as portrayed by Simm, and MP Stephen Collins, as portrayed here by Morrissey. To complicate issues between the two, Collins' winning campaign for MP was managed by McCaffrey, and there's the not small matter of Cal's less-than-subtle pining for Collins' wife (Walker).

Over 500 IMDB reviewers have weighed in with an average review of 8.8 (on a 10 scale), pretty much a chart-blower by that discriminating audience (The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption are 9.1).
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Mini-Series..political thriller.... November 29, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding BBC Mini-Series that aired in 2003. A British politicians assistant is found dead on the subway (underground). Is this a random incident or is there more to the story. Complex, with great dialog and a taut script. Well acted. I saw this when it aired and have been waiting for the DVD. This is TV as it should be.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The West Wing Meets the Bourne Supremacy April 2, 2008
A couple of years ago, while reviewing "The Queen," I wistfully semi-wished for a West Wing-type TV series set in the world of British politics. Turns out such a series already existed, the BBC's 2003 series, "State of Play," released at last on region one DVD.

Stephen Collins (David Morrissey) is a rising young hotshot Member of Parliament and chairman of the ostensibly independent Energy Select Committee. On the same morning that his beautiful young research assistant Sonia dies under mysterious circumstances in a subway station, a teenage bag-snatcher is shot to death on the other side of London. While investigating the teenage boy's death, newspaper reporters Cal McCaffrey (John Simm) and Della Smith (Kelly McDonald) realize that the youngster made a phone call to Sonia the morning they both died. Further controversy arises when it's revealed Collins was romantically involved with his assistant. There's another wrinkle: McCaffrey once managed the Collins election campaign; in the wake of scandal, the embattled MP and his estranged wife Anne (Polly Walker) both turn to the conflicted McCaffrey for shelter and sympathy.

From there, the drama gets increasingly complicated and messy; I won't give too much away (and have probably given away too much already). The further Della, Cal, and their fellow journalists dig into the two deaths, the more scandal and conspiracy they uncover. Part of the drama is political, part of it is personal, and all of it is riveting. The script (six hour-long episodes) by Paul Abbott is taut and intelligent, allowing plenty of space for both plot and character, with a perfect balance of drama, humor, intrigue, and romance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good one to watch.
It had all the elements required. Murder, who done it and of course a twist at the end. Yes, I watch it again.
Published 1 month ago by Cindy Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars The CIA made a pay-off to change the ending of the movie
This is a GREAT film !!! BUT !!! The ending is a TOTAL SELL-OUT !!!
It was right on target for 7/8's of the way thru the film, but then they did a CIA PSY-OP on the ending,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by K.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Outstanding, an incredible, edge of your seat thrilling, must see, over and over, a classic must have for your collection
Published 2 months ago by Richard P. Loarie
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie
i like this movie a lot, well let's just say i'm partial to british movies, have watched it a couple of times; that being said i also liked the US version with Russell Crowe and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by CharlotteS
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate; see this instead of (or before) the U.S. "remake"
I have both this series and the U.S. remake (because I do really like Helen Mirren and Russell Crowe.0However I'd strongly recommend getting this first. The reasons: 1. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John K. Gayley
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps You On The Edge of Your Seat!!
I bought this two-disc DVD simply because of the actors, three of which are on my all-time favorite list. If you want a fast-moving dramatic series this is the one for you. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Meralyn Swensen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Brits really do this well...gritty and realistic
Taut British thriller, great acting, frankly only the way the Brits can do it...which is GREAT! A keeper of a dvd...will watch it again on another rainy afternoon...or maybe snow.
Published 5 months ago by Maine Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend this one. Many good characters.
Although one guy over acted, most of the others did a great job. The story moved and was entertaining. The little girl reporter and the editor stole the show.
Published 5 months ago by Jake Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Why, oh why, does all the good stuff come from Britain, especially BBC? Acting, editing, direction, script are all exceptional. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Melba
1.0 out of 5 stars Not playable
This was extremely dissapointing because the disc is european and I can't play it.
My schedule is busy and taking the time to try and return items is very frustrating. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jacqueline Swanson
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State of Play - Region 1 v Region 2 - Edits?
According to the information shown on Amazon UK, the Region 2 set has ten more minutes than the US/Region 1 set. If you own a region free dvd player, or there is a region hack code available for your player, the set Region 2 set is much less expensive also.
Jun 19, 2013 by B. Bennyhoff |  See all 2 posts
State of Play - Mini series: Saw it, but have questions
I wish you would remove the spoiler - or put the alert in the title - I couldn't help seeing it too soon - Sonia found out she was pregnant and was serious about the relationship - she didn't know she was being followed by the hitman - she had wanted to quit spying for the oil companies and then... Read more
Apr 15, 2009 by Peregrine Reader |  See all 9 posts
State of Play
he stole the hit man's briefcase with the info on the hit and then called Sonia to warn her - the hitman traced him and killed him - then the young man's girlfriend called the newspaper to anonymously give the case
Apr 15, 2009 by Peregrine Reader |  See all 3 posts
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