Sunday, 9 May 2010

Film Review: STATE OF PLAY (2009)

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Running time: 127 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 12

UK Release Date: 24th April 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 9th May 2010.


This film is based on the BBC TV mini-series "State of Play" (2003) written by Paul Abbott. Of course the setting has been moved to the bright lights of Washington DC and certain elements of the story have been changed to suit, but the basis of the original is still there.

When a drug addict is shot down in the street and another man badly injured, Washington Globe reporter Cal McAffrey is assigned the story. The next morning, political researcher Sonia Baker is killed when someone pushes her in front of a train on the subway. Young online reporter, Della Frye is assigned that story. Little do they know at this stage, but both incidents are linked. Congressman Stephen Collins is heading up a hearing looking into the activities of a private military contractor called Point Corp. The researcher, Sonia Baker, worked for the congressman and, what’s more, was having an affair with him. It also happens that Stephen Collins is friends with Cal McAffrey; they were room mates at college. This being the case, Collins turns to his friend for help when the press hound him after the story of the affair comes out. McAffrey begins to look into Sonia’s death and finds that there is a link between that and the story he was originally working on. A female drug addict makes contact with Cal and sells him some photos that had been stolen from a briefcase. Her friend, the addict who was shot, had taken them from a briefcase he stole from a businessman who turned out to be a hit man. The photos are of Sonia, showing her going about her business, which isn’t all it appears to be. This all links back to Point Corp. Cal’s editor, Cameron Lynne wants to publish, but Cal wants to dig deeper and expose the full story. It’s a very complicated plot, and I will not take you through all the twists and turns here, but I think there’s enough to whet your appetite for now.

It’s a very well made film with plenty to get your teeth into. As I’ve already mentioned, there are plenty of plot twists to keep you on your toes. Some really good performances too, in particular, Russell Crowe as Cal McAffrey, Ben Affleck as Rep. Stephen Collins and Helen Mirren as Cameron Lynne. Honourable mentions also go to Rachel McAdams as Della Frye, Robin Wright as Anne Collins (Stephen’s wife), Jason Bateman as Dominic Foy, Jeff Daniels as Rep. George Fergus and Michael Berresse as Robert Bingham.

I really enjoyed this film; it’s one you have to watch though, with all those plot twists, if you get distracted you could quite easily miss something. It’s a really well written plot with some good dialogue and some real edge-of-your-seat thrills along the way. On top of all that there are some really fine performances, Ben Affleck went up in my estimation with this one, Russell Crowe was great (as ever) and Helen Mirren was as brilliant as always. Over all, pretty highly recommended.

My score: 7.6/10

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