Kevin Macdonald’s State of Play is a classy piece of Hollywood filmmaking that delivers an entertaining two hours in the cinema and features enjoyable star performances from Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams.
The 2009 film which is based on the brilliant British BBC series of the same name (which aired in 2003) unfolds in the tradition of other newspaper films such as All The Presidents Men and even His Girl Friday. State of Play is an old fashioned thriller that deals with political conspiracy, journalistic values and as a running theme – how the internet has changed the written word.
The anchor of Kevin McDonald’s film is without a doubt Russell Crowe. The Oscar winning actor delivers a charming performance that’s filled with heart and passion.
Ben Affleck is also good – although his role could have been expanded, though I’m sure this is the casualty of the film being adapted from a six hour series. Affleck often comes under severe critical scrutiny for his performances and I feel that he acquits himself well, playing the all American political hero with skeletons in his closet.
Rachel McAdams also delivers as the “green” blogger who is groomed by Crowe to become “an old fashioned newspaper man.” The pair have good chemistry and in a bygone era they might have even gotten a sequel out of this film.
What makes State of Play so enjoyable is that there’s a solid story and good performances. The film should feature a disclaimer saying “no CGI or snappy edits are contained in this feature.” it’s Hollywood filmmaking at its purest and I highly rate it for that.
Budgeted at $60 million, State Of Play grossed $37 million at the US box office and $87.8 million globally when it was released in 2009.