State of Play - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

State of Play Reviews

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July 22, 2016
It's kind of hard to follow at points, and has some pacing issues, but overall 'State of Play' is an acceptable mystery thriller, which is helped by good performances from all the main cast.
July 22, 2016
Great movie! don't miss , if you have.
½ July 9, 2016
Robust direction, clever script, well-aimed dialogues, humour, well-shot scenes, very good performances by all, action, and, generally, everything that comprises an excellent political thriller.
June 27, 2016
The 84% rating is questionable.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2016
Great cast, but it runs out of steam very quickly
June 18, 2016
A boring political drama that is meant to be thrilling but isn't. I found it confusing and poorly made. (First and only viewing - January 2010)
April 13, 2016
I liked a lot the twist. Great dialogue and performances.
March 28, 2016
Its plot is bloated, but Kevin McDonald's "State Of Play" is a solid, well acted political thriller with fine writing and direction.
March 11, 2016
Not something I usually watch or would even consider watching but I eventually did and although I never found it great I did it get gripped into the story that's full of twists, Some were good, Some were a little confusing, Brilliantly acted by a strong cast that makes the film watchable, It's not a film you could view multiple times but the film itself is clever at times and worth watching if you can get your head around over complicated plot.
February 28, 2016
The rich tradition of a corrupt disillusioned political thriller intertwined with over-the-bounds hard-boiled investigative journalism is a still alive. Think All the Presidents Men, The Killing Fields and The Year of Living Dangerously. Obviously striving to be one of the greats, Sadly for State of Play the stars did not align.

Inspired (and overshadowed) by the BBC's 2003 six-part mini-series, the newly relocated across the Atlantic and compressed to feature length gets off to a strong start.

We follow a young purse snatcher's desperate attempt to flee through grimy back alleys of Washington DC, however once safe he is shot execution style for his troubles and surprisingly so is a passing Pizza delivery boy.

The two murders draw the attention of Washington Globe's old-school investigate reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crow). Cunningly utilizing his easy rapport with familiar cops squeezes out extra information playing games like confirm or deny.

Also in news is the apparent suicide of a congressional aid to rising-star congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) who coincidentally is the college room mate of Cal McAffrey.

When Collins overreacts after being informed of the aide's death, assigned to the case perky and ambitious blogger Dela Frye (Rachel McAdams) overzealously approaches McAffrey for any dirt on his friend.

When the pair are thrown together by The Globe's editor to find the real story behind what happened with Collins and the intern, pieces being to start aligning the two journalists seemingly unrelated cases.
In an attempt not to give away too much of the interweaving plot threads, here are some of the basics. McAffrey has previously bedded his friend Congressman Collins wife Anne (Robyn Wright Penn), Collins flagship case is centered around one companies dealing with privatizing homeland security and McAffrey illegal ideas of interrogation cross the line between journalist and detective (but in films like these no one ever remembers to look at the lines)

The story, although cleverly done is awfully stereotypical and predictable. From the start it is clear as to which direction you will be taken and if you observe the characters interactions in the first 20 minutes there is no more intrigue.

Noticeably the second choice picks of soft-around-the-waste unkempt Crow and polished wet-behind-the-ears Affleck only half worked (initially Brad Pitt and Edward Norton respectively). Jeff Daniels short performance as one of Collins' advisers is strained, and Jason Batemans cocaine addicted PR smart ass routine is overdone.

Mirren's sex changed character originally played by the wonderful Bill Nighly has certain unresponsiveness delivering obviously male orientated lines and the grossly under utilized talents of Robyn Wright Penn and clichéd idealistic character by Rachel McAdams simply leaves the film lacking.

The Verdict: The lack of stomach-clenching tension is clear; the filmmaker's inability to adapt a tight script and the actor's fruitless attempt to salvage what is left leaves the conclusion that this type of film unless made properly should be remembered as the style of the 80's, it just doesn't cut it anymore.

Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 05/06/2009
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2016
I don't think I've enjoyed a Russell Crowe performance as much as this so far in his career. It's nothing like the BBC series, which is a good thing, as I didn't think much of it. Kevin Macdonald is a diverse director too, certainly not a one trick pony, he's just as good at thrillers as he is at documentaries!
January 12, 2016
State of Play is a boring non-thrilling thriller the only good thing about the movie was the performances.
January 2, 2016
Felt bit long and overdrawn. The solid acting kept it interesting but story felt could of been better with so much talent used. Screen writer seems easy to blame.
December 9, 2015
State of Play is an above average thriller, but it is given much momentum by good performances from Crowe, Affleck and Rachel McAdams. The most emotional performance is from Ben Affleck. I did not like the climax, it would have been better if the wife had been the villain other than the congressman.
November 10, 2015
Not sure how I missed this one, but its intense like HoC, well-written thriller with some A-list actors. Even Ben Affleck delivered a good performance in this one.
August 20, 2015
It put more focus on surprise as a mystery and suspense than inevitability as a drama while settings such as a young congressman investigating military industry, an affair with his staff, friendship with news writer, an affaire of his wife and friend, a returned soldier and a veteran are dramatic.
Performances of Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams are as good expected. Helen Mirren acting as a chief editor is sharp and impressive.
½ August 8, 2015
A great film that saw a turnaround in Ben Affleck's career, off the heels of his amazing directorial debut 'Gone Baby Gone' Ben delivers his first truly great performance in the start of many to come. Russell Crowe is great as always leading the movie and taking us through the life of a committed investigative reporter with great performances from Hellen Mirren and Rachel McAdams, this makes for a great political thriller
August 8, 2015
Excellent movie keeps you gripping your seat wondering where it will turn to next. Lots of twists and turns. Great acting performances all round. One minor faux-pas is that when Cal the reporter is typing his final story on the computer, he says Bingham was found dead in his apartment of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This is not what happened in the movie. I won't spoil it and let you know what really happened as that is at the end of the movie. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and recommend it.
July 1, 2015
State of Play keeps the story goes on in the right pace, making it tense and suspenseful.
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