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145 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a great adult suspense movie
Finally a great adult suspense film about several timely subjects . It 's about the dying newspapers and political corruption.
Russell Crowe is excellent as an overweight ,slightly shabby journalist ,who is flawed personally,but an excellent journalist.
Helen Mirren is good as his stressed boss.Ben Afflek is surprisingly good as his old friend and US...
Published on August 16, 2009 by J. White

versus
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 ½ Stars: Responsibilities of Credible Reporting Collides With a Murder Mystery
Based on the BBC mini-series, director Kevin McDonald's "STATE OF PLAY" blends the two most reliable, favorite ingredients of an effective thriller; a political-conspiracy thriller mixed in with a journalism drama with a touch of a murder mystery mixed in. The film's direction can be taut, clean and energetic that plays on the moralities of politics and the responsibility...
Published on September 2, 2009 by Woopak


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145 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a great adult suspense movie, August 16, 2009
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
Finally a great adult suspense film about several timely subjects . It 's about the dying newspapers and political corruption.
Russell Crowe is excellent as an overweight ,slightly shabby journalist ,who is flawed personally,but an excellent journalist.
Helen Mirren is good as his stressed boss.Ben Afflek is surprisingly good as his old friend and US congressman. Rachel
McAdams is fine as the new face of the news,a blogger for the newspaper. There is suspense, that grabs you and holds you til the end. I saw it with friends and discussed it through and after dinner. Always a sign of a good movie. How in the world does Crowe manage to be so appealing in messy clothes and overweight? I highly recommend this movie.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 ½ Stars: Responsibilities of Credible Reporting Collides With a Murder Mystery, September 2, 2009
By 
Woopak "The THRILL" (Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
Based on the BBC mini-series, director Kevin McDonald's "STATE OF PLAY" blends the two most reliable, favorite ingredients of an effective thriller; a political-conspiracy thriller mixed in with a journalism drama with a touch of a murder mystery mixed in. The film's direction can be taut, clean and energetic that plays on the moralities of politics and the responsibility of credible reporting. Kevin McDonald maneuvers the film's script in a meaty web of intrigue and suspense that is nicely acted and honest in its execution.

Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) is a seasoned reporter working at a struggling newspaper called "The Washington Globe". When the research assistant (played by Maria Thayer) and lover to a congressman named Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is killed, her mysterious death provokes a lot of speculation for a high-profile story. Cal has a history with Collins and his wife Anne (Robin Wright Penn), so he is the natural pick to tackle this story. But Cal becomes conflicted with what story he wants to tell the longer he digs for the truth; which leads him to team up with a young inexperienced reporter named Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) to sort out the mystery full of political intrigue to avoid further bloodshed and uncover the real story behind all the rumors and deceptions. Cal now finds himself face to face with his own `crisis of conscience' as his own proven investigative skills may not coincide with the needs for profit and that the real story may alienate his own friends.

"State of Play" is a thriller that tries to keep its toes by mixing in elements of a political thriller that touches on some real world events after the tragedy of 9/11 and the responsibilities of credible fact-finding. The script by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Matthew Carnahan (The Kingdom) and Billy Ray has its share of good dialogue delivered by characters that has some layers and dimensions that proved interesting. Cal represents the old-school style of reporting; he checks his facts, looks for credible sources and ignores the unnecessary hidden stories. His dislike on young inexperienced blogger Della comes absolutely natural. Cal sees her as the spoiled reporter who may write appealing articles who happen to have a better computer and a better office. The two are representations of the signs of the times and the internet phenomenon. It was also nice to see the script avoid the trappings of a perfunctory romance between the two reporters but instead director McDonald uses a sort of a mentor-student type of relationship between the two after they realize that they are both after the same thing.

The film's political side comes from the character of Stephen Collins who may have the best interests of the country at heart, although he made some mistakes on some decisions such as bedding his own research assistant. The screenplay is a little cautious, but it does point an accusing finger at certain corporations who make huge profit from a war. Apparently the privatization of soldiers in the war against terror is one profitable industry, and these soldiers are just mercenaries answerable to no one. The moral responsibilities of fighting a war are touched upon as well as maintaining the image of a clean public figure. Smear campaigns, damaging rumors and speculations are used to manipulate Congress to satisfy the needs of big corporate America.

Director McDonald does get the atmosphere and the fast-paced feel of a newspaper right. I liked the old-school `press room' with the editor looking above the reporters. McDonald is to be commended that he remembered to bring such late night hurdles into exposition; although frankly, the stereotypical character of Cal's editor in the person of Helen Mirren should've been abandoned. Mirren does a good performance as Cal's impatient and overly cautious editor, but her character has been overused in other films in this genre. The shady, corrupt politician in the person of Jeff Daniels has also been done to death. I also have issues with the age factor between Cal and Collins; Affleck and Crowe just don't fit as former college buddies. Affleck is decent as the congressman but Crowe just looked so much older than him, I couldn't really buy into the idea that they're the same age. The relationship between Cal and Anne isn't really brought into fruition; quite frankly, it felt a little forced to add some spice to the screenplay.

The manner of which the plot unravels is full of various storylines that come to a satisfying ending but some elements feel unnecessary. The script should have been more compact and some scenes dragged a little bit. It doesn't really hurt the film but Jason Bateman's scenes should have been more efficiently played out. It also seemed to try too hard on satisfying its audience in both the cerebral conspiracy thriller fan base and the action junkies; it does work on some levels but I thought the script may have had the fear of becoming too talkie that it needed to bring some gunplay into the mix. Some of the scenes just didn't match the film's tone at times.

"State of Play" does have some nice touches such as an old-fashioned workhorse in the face of "blogger-space", it explores the morals of profit gain and the responsibilities of public officials; the problem is, sometimes, it just felt that the film didn't have confidence enough to stay within the realms of a journalistic drama. It tries to be too complex just for the sake of becoming complex, that it felt like it threw too many ideas that slowed the film's pace. It does feel predictable in the middle of the film, but I did appreciate the effort in delivering a credible thriller. It does deliver the goods and the effective revelations do hit the right spots.

Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]

Video/Audio: 2.35 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The picture looks pristine even when the colors looked a little restrained. The quality of the picture matches the film's tone. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is clear enough and well channeled.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Movie I Never Heard Of!, May 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
My husband brought home this DVD and I'd never even heard of it. Why wasn't this a huge hit? Was it only in theaters for a minute, or what? My theory: this is another movie that fell victim to a terrible, awful title. I challenge you to remember the title "State of Play" while you are watching it, without cheating and looking at the DVD case.

As for the movie, five hearty stars, two thumbs up, GREAT suspenseful, smart thriller with a terrific all-star cast. A love letter to the dying/ changing newspaper industry, a nod to the Watergate era and the movie "All the President's Men" (a great movie title!), and a taut political drama. I actually hugged my fleece throw at a few places, it was very tense.

Recommendation: Absolutely. Our whole family watched it (two teenagers, two parents) and enjoyed it. Great movie led by stellar cast.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of Play, December 29, 2009
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
A solid entertaining, mature thriller. As usual Crowe and Mirren are their absolute best. McAdams and a surprising Affleck are also good. Some good plot twists, an interesting story, exceptional acting, and witty dialogue make this a winner through and through.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crowe Dominates Uneven Political Thriller, October 18, 2009
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
Loosely based on the 2003 BBC miniseries, "State of Play" had the potential for greatness. This ripped-from-the-headlines foray into D.C. political intrigue benefits from Kevin Macdonald's stylish direction and Russell Crowe's strong performance as the scruffy veteran reporter. Unfortunately, the screenplay does a ludicrous job exploring the modern-day journalistic milieu - poorly represented by Rachel McAdams as a naïve young blogger who teams up with Crowe and inexplicably shares a byline on his front-page story! (One of the scriptwriters was Matthew Michael Carnahan, who penned the disastrous Robert Redford talkathon "Lions for Lambs.") The pivotal role of a scandal-plagued congressman fits within Ben Affleck's limited acting range while Helen Mirren and Jason Bateman shine in effective character parts. Despite scripting flaws and excessive length, "State of Play" manages to generate a fair amount of suspense. However, it is Crowe's presence that holds the film together.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edgy Thriller, October 8, 2009
By 
Joseph J. Slevin (Carlsbad, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
You are taken on quite a ride with 'State of Play' where Ben Affleck and Russell Crow play friends, Affleck a very involved Congressman and Crow a very active Journalist who seems on the last legs of a career with the paper he works for going more to the web. His editor, who is attempting to squeeze every dollar out of the paper gets more and more delirious about McAffrey (Crow) as he tries to track down the truth behind a scandal involving congressman Collins (Affleck).

There are a few twists and you get a feel of the issues that the News Media faces with balancing getting the story, versus getting the truth. (See the Book 'Losing the News'). Then you have a congressman who is overseeing the committee for reviewing a new national security consulting firm. The plot thickens as McAffrey pulls back the layers of information using all of the sources he can dig up. Great bit on investigative journalism. I think it gives a little of a sense of what went on in the Watergate era with Deep Throat and Woodward and Burnstein.

The junior reporter/blogger Della Frye, played by Rachel McAdams, is vying for getting noticed in her career giving us a sense of play between Generation X and the quickly getting behind the times Baby Boom Generation.

You have a couple of interesting threads blending marvelously into one, issues of Government and corruption, Journalistic excellence and the current state of the News Print medium and internal generational differences.

This really makes for keeping you on the edge of your seat and having to really stay in tune with what is going on. Interestingly, everyone is questioning everyone elses integrity throughout and you really feel for McAffrey when everyone questions his motives for his approach in digging and digging for the truth.

Definately one of my favorites for 2009, State of Play is a must for the DVD library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars did i like this movie? how bout heck yes!, September 2, 2009
By 
J. Peldo "almost movie expert" (not the end of the earth but close) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
people are so over sensitized that they become numb to good movies! some people watch a good movie and expect to be thrown out of their seat because it's so good!! Movies are not like that anymore!!! This movie, however, was one that is worth watching! I thought the plot was great. real life scenarios make this an exciting and suspenseful movie to watch. Not quite a thriller and not quite a suspense movie, but very entertaining!! I dont know how anyone could say anything bad about this movie!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love the plot twists, February 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
We don't buy a lot of videos after we watch them-once is usually enough- but this has been added to our library. Russell Crowe fills the journalist role so completely, reminding me of the typical hard-driving journalist with a nose for news and a golden pen who can barely make himself publicly presentable and pushes on for the truth of a story even as it promises to bring down those closest to him. The charmingly corrupt politician is played well by Ben Affleck and is food for thought regarding the self-destruction of a political career.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extra, Extra, read all about it...'Solid, Gritty Film Captured On Blu-Ray!', September 10, 2009
This review is from: State of Play [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
`State of Play' is based on a BBC Television production of the same name. It is a political thriller set in Washington D.C. with the frantic edginess of `All The President's Men'. There is even a suspense filled scene set in an underground parking garage. The Watergate Complex also makes a brief appearance. Perhaps, homage to Alan J. Pakula. Much of the film is shot in a vast, open newsroom. One simply cannot watch the film without thinking of the changes going on in real newsrooms. This is a credit to Director Kevin MacDonald, who paced the action well and made full use of the set.

The plot revolves around the collision of two reporters, one old media, and the other new. Russell Crowe is the grizzled veteran, Cal. His style is hitting the streets and sniffing out the leads and sources that will break the story. Rachel McAdams is Della Frye, Internet savvy and on the rise. When she enters Cal's world to assist with a big story, she is reminded that her status is that of a Cub Reporter. The source of it, the Ben Bradlee-ish publisher, Helen Mirren. Ms. Mirren adds a nice, whiskey in the morning bent to the cast.

Crowe is superb. His portrayal of `Cal McAffrey' is intense, methodical, and steady. When the action kicks into high gear, Crowe's pace does as well. At times, he reminds me a bit of the immortal `Aqualung' depicted on the cover of the Jethro Tull LP. It may be an obscure reference, but I insisted it remain. He is secure enough in his talent, to allow the other actor's, mainly McAdams, Ben Affleck and Robin Wright Penn to, on occasion, talk down to his character while he painfully winces, almost in acknowledgment. Lesser actors would never allow this to make the final script. It's another reason why Crowe is among the very best.

Affleck gives a strong portrayal of a Congressman who gets caught up in the scandals that can easily be lifted from the headlines of many a Washington Post morning edition. The reminder that the plot is plausible makes a statement unto itself. Robin Wright Penn is effective as Affleck's weary wife. While her part was more complex than most involving `the wife', it could have been a bit healthier.

Rounding out the cast is a nice mix of talent. Jason Bateman in a superbly played role as a source in the investigation, Jeff Daniels, as the Congressional majority whip, Michael Berresse as the loner ex-soldier , Harry Lennex, great as usual, this time as the vexed police detective. Josh Mostel and Michael Weston also deliver nice chemistry as Crowe's in the field tech specialists.

I also liked the appearance of Sarah Lord as `Mandi Brokaw', the street hustling addict who has a break to offer Crowe in his investigation. She speaks volumes in her initial non-verbal scene, with her expression. Her style is intriguing, and I'd enjoy seeing her in a larger role, perhaps in the future.

The newspaper industry may be the last sign of an era that is phasing out. Papers are ubiquitous. They occupy a place on every corner of every major city in the world. Sadly, this is ending. But not before being documented in solid movies like this. Make sure to watch the end credits, as it takes a final look at the process of putting out a newspaper edition. `State of Play' is one of the movies that will be remembered, in part, for portraying a much-loved industry.

The disc was viewed on a highly rated brand name, 40", 120Hz, 1080P set. The DVD player is also a highly rated brand name, Blu-ray set. The quality of the picture was excellent, and sound superb (5.1 DTS Digital Surround). Extras include deleted scenes, a 'Making Of' featurette. The U-Control option is available for interactive features while viewing the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crowe Excels Again, September 8, 2009
By 
Andrew Desmond (Neutral Bay, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: State of Play (DVD)
"State of Play" is a complex whodunnit set against a backdrop of political intrigue in Washington DC. There are crosses and double crosses that keep the viewer interested until the very end. This is a good sign for a film of this genre.

Yet, for all its virtues, "State of Play" manages to fall short of the mark. My suspicion is that it was simply trying to cram too much detail into a two hour film. Perhaps it would have been better in its previous incarnation as a mini-series. In this way, the various threads could have been tied together more carefully. In the film, the viewer is compelled to play close attention. One missed detail could easily create confusion.

As to the acting, Russell Crowe again steals the show. Crowe is the complete actor. No matter what the role, he always manages to rise to the occasion. Here, he plays the role of an old fashioned, crumpled newspaper man. He is overweight, unkempt and so very plausible. He is supported by some fine acting by Ben Affleck as a congressman of questionable motives, Rachel McAdams as the young newspaper blogger and Helen Mirren as the paper's editor. Mirren seems to get better with age. Yet, it is Crowe who is truly larger than life.

While I enjoyed this film, I am unable to recommend it with anything more than four stars. Go and see it, enjoy it as a good murder mystery but don't expect to leave the cinema with a sense that you have seen anything absolutely remarkable.
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State of Play
State of Play by Kevin Macdonald (DVD - 2009)
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