State and Main Reviews
I just didn't get it... avoid this crap fest!!
Director David Mamet (Heist, House Of Games) helmed State And Main, and did one hell of a job with this wickedly humorous and snappy slapstick comedy. It's funny as hell from the first scene to the last and filled with Mamet's trademark "Mamet Speak" dialogue and nonstop endless wit. It's stylish, smart, flashy, fun, romantic, sharp, witty, slick and fresh, something that the entire family can enjoy on movie night. A movie about a movie, it doesn't get much better than that. State And Main was a bit of a change of pace for David Mamet, whom normally sticks to brain-bending psychological dramas and reality shifting thrillers like, "The Spanish Prisoner" and "Heist". He's just one of the Directors who just can't seem to miss, he hits the ball out of the park with every film that he writes and directs. One of my personal favorite Director's adds another great film to his very impressive resume. Jam-packed with one-liner galore, razor-sharp storytelling, ultra-snappy dialogue, compelling romance, unending laughs, nonstop randomness and most of all excellent performances.
The cast is epic, and the performances are all great. William H. Macy and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are standouts, these two made the film in my opinion. Other great performances in the film are seen from Julia Stiles, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Paymer an Rebecca Pidgeon. It's worth watching for the sheer amount of talent involved in the casting. Great film. Great comedy.
Take the Coen brothers for example. They have created three of the greatest movies I have ever seen, two of which I would venture to say are flawless films. So when they make a movie like "True Grit," which by any other director might be a masterpiece, I can't help but be disappointed. I know they're capable of transcendent films.
Something similar is true of David Mamet. I've cherished "Glengarry Glen Ross" since I was old enough to see it. I could probably recite most of it from memory right now if I tried. I know how brilliant of a writer he can be. So movies like "Edmond" and "House of Games," movies that don't quite meet greatness but might be great in someone else's canon, are again disappointing.
All that said, "State and Main" might be one of the former brilliant films. It delivers everything I'd hoped for from a Mamet movie yet so much more. The lines are smart, one after the other, and they just feel right. Even those that trail off. As Bob Barringer (Alec Baldwin) passes the phone to the director (William H Macy), Bob says, "Here. He wants to talk about..." The director takes the phone and says into the receiver, "I'll call you right back" and hangs up. We never find out what the man on the other end wants to talk about. And it doesn't matter; it makes the moment so authentic I can hardly accept I'm watching a film.
These little moments make up the fabric of "State and Main," they're everywhere. They overlap and intertwine until they've constructed a dynamic, hilarious film with many sustained character arcs.
The acting is almost across the board impeccable. This includes the usually lowly Sarah Jessica Parker, who is not only good-looking in this film, but shows a glimpse of the SJP we might have known: a serious, smart actress. Instead we've lost her to high heels and big-budget stupidity.
"State and Main" is essentially about about big city (immoral) folk finding a place in-- or trashing-- the small town folks (moral). The overriding purity theme borders on pushing the film into meta territory, but doesn't quite break the plane as much as to cause an actor to wink at the camera, which I believe is a good thing. So it's a standard setup, but the conflicts that flourish in the film cause consistent and rising tension, along with a great deal of funny moments. If you like Mamet, you will like State and Main. It shows a "lighter" side of a usually very dark and serious writer.