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.



Reviews Counted: 211

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 124,270


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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.

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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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News & Interviews for State of Play

Critic Reviews for State of Play

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (50)

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…
Time Out
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…

The three screenwriters may have been trying to work too many plot strands into two hours; in any case, State of Play is both overstuffed and inconclusive.

Apr 20, 2009 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

It's sentimental in all the right ways.

Apr 20, 2009 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for State of Play



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


"You're just seeking the truth. You're a truth seeker. You can't help it, that is just who you are." A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress.

"State of Play," directed by Kevin Macdonald, is a smart, topical political thriller whose cast of characters includes a congressional aide who dies under mysterious circumstances; a scandal-plagued Capitol Hill legislator; a seasoned reporter for a mainstream newspaper; an unseasoned cub reporter for that same paper's on-line blog; and a Blackwater-type quasi-military organization that will seemingly stop at nothing, even murder, in its effort to privatize the War on Terror for power and profit. Ben Affleck is the congressman from Pennsylvania whose affair with the murdered woman threatens to bring to light some serious behind-the scenes skullduggery on the part of the company that is currently under investigation by Affleck's committee for alleged acts of brutality and terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russell Crowe is the journalist for the fictional "Washington Globe" who's investigating the case even though his lifelong friendship with both the congressman and the congressman's beautiful but long-suffering wife (Robin Penn Wright) may represent a major conflict-of-interest for the paper. Rachel McAdams is the wet-behind-the-ears blog reporter who joins Crowe in his investigation, and Helen Mirren is the no-nonsense editor-in-chief responsible for making sure that the two mutually antagonistic reporters work in tandem, rather than at cross purposes, in their effort to get the story. The script (based on a six-part British series) is complex but relatively easy to follow as it deftly twists and turns its way to its irony-drenched conclusion. As a sidebar, the movie examines how compromise has become the order of the day in journalism, now that an ever-dwindling number of "legitimate" newspapers are being forced to compete with sensationalistic tabloids and blogs for readership and revenue. A film for thinking adults.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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 Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer


"State of Play". A very similar movie to this is "Body of Lies"... it also stars Russell Crowe! They are very similar like this: "State of Play" was engaging and brings the audience through the plot. We become interested in what will happen... but there is almost 0 character development. We are uninterested in what happens to the characters. Don't get me wrong, this movie was a fun time... but what else could we say? "State of Play" does not stick in our minds and the plot doesn't carry enough emotional weight for it to be an issue that we would stress over in real life. I liked it, but didn't love this movie.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

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