Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

State of Play

State of Play

Review by Chris Maitland

When I first the trailer for State of Play attached to Gran Torino last winter, I expected a really well-done thriller. With its solid cast and very appealing plotline I was pretty excited for it.  Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to see it during its initial run in theaters, but I recently caught it on DVD, and I have to say I was

with the results.


Old-school journalist Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) works for The Washington Post. He becomes fascinated in solving the murder of a woman named Sophia Baker, who just happened to be the aide of Sen. Stephen Collins (a very bored-looking Ben Affleck), Cal’s good friend and former college roommate.  With the help of news-blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), he gets to work to try to crack the case and help his friend of a jam.


The film was very up-anddown.  It had some elements that really worked well, but it had on some pretty noticeable problems as well.  The biggest problems with State of Play were pacing and direction, especially the second half of the film, which was scattered all over the place.  There were too many subplots that ended up going nowhere (which, I suppose, is a lot like journalism in a way).  Even the film’s ending wasn’t terribly conclusive, and it was confusing as hell.  The best thing about the film, by far, was the acting.  Most of the cast turned in a very good performance, particularly Crowe, McAdams, and Helen Mirren, who was terrific as the tough-as-nails Post editor.

I will give this film a marginal thumbs up.  If you are a fan of Russell Crowe, then you will probably enjoy State of Play.  The plot did get bogged down a few times, but other than that, it was a fairly engaging and entertaining story.  It is definitely worth renting, even with its flaws.

3 / 5 stars

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