State of Play


State of Play

Critics Consensus

A taut, well-acted political thriller, State of Play overcomes some unsubtle plot twists with an intelligent script and swift direction.



Total Count: 213


Audience Score

User Ratings: 124,258
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Movie Info

Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins is the future of his political party--an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party's contender for the upcoming presidential race. Until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out. D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and a ruthless editor, Cameron, who has assigned him to investigate the murder. As he and partner Della try to uncover the killer's identity, McCaffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structures. And, in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one's integrity, love or life is ever safe.


Russell Crowe
as Cal McAffrey
Ben Affleck
as Stephen Collins
Rachel McAdams
as Della Frye
Helen Mirren
as Cameron Lynne
Robin Wright
as Anne Collins
Jason Bateman
as Dominic Foy
Jeff Daniels
as Senator George Fergus
Michael Berresse
as Michael Bingham
Harry Lennix
as Detective Donald Bell
Viola Davis
as Dr. Judith Franklin
David Harbour
as PointCorp Insider
Tuck Milligan
as PointCorp Executive
Stephen Park
as Chris Kawai
Brennan Brown
as Andrew Pell
Maria Thayer
as Sonia Baker
Wendy Makkena
as Greer Thornton
Michael Jace
as Officer Brown
Ladell Preston
as Deshaun Stagg
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Critic Reviews for State of Play

All Critics (213) | Top Critics (53) | Fresh (179) | Rotten (34)

  • It's really a story about the romance of newspapers and a good one - part of a tradition that goes all the way back to Ben Hecht and The Front Page. It may also mark the genre's end.

    May 31, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • State of Play succeeds as mainstream entertainment to the point where it hardly makes sense to complain about its pulled political punches.

    May 29, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Despite the clichéd nature of much of the dialogue and the derivative thriller set-ups, 'State of Play' provides sufficient old-fashioned entertainment value to justify the ticket.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    Wally Hammond

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • This is exhilarating, compulsive storytelling and looks likely to be one of the year's cinematic highlights.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • State of Play rattles along very satisfactorily, and Crowe brings to the role a relaxed self-possession and even charm.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Pacy, thought-provoking entertainment. Not perfect, but well worth the admission.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for State of Play

  • Mar 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.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • May 17, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2012
    Decent enough thriller that is supposed to be Watergatesque but falls a wee bit short. Something to see if you have nothing else going on in your life at the moment.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 30, 2012
    State of Play is a good political thriller with twists coming at you when you least expect them. Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren and Robin Wright Penn were absolutely fantastic in this film. They carry the film through some implausible plot twists which left me somewhat confused, but somehow, the film always made sure the audience was following along. They'd stop and say "OK what've we got so far?". Some times the story just felt rushed, like they were making an effort to keep the audience in the loop, but wanting to keep the pace up and complicate the story a bit more.... The script is very intelligent and well-written, and the direction by Kevin MacDonald was good as well. Overall, State of Play left me in a mild state of confusion, but in the end, it all made sense, and kept me involved (even a little breathless at times).
    Raymond W Super Reviewer

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