State of Play (Kevin MacDonalad) 2009
Uh oh, Ben Affleck has killed another girl. Anyway, Cal (Russell Crowe) is a reporter for the Washington Post. He is doing a story on the shooting of two people in the same area but of different backgrounds. At the same time, the aide to Congressman Collins (Ben Affleck) is killed and he is implicated in having a romantic relationship with said aide. Collins is in the middle of a Congressional hearing which was set to expose a private security company for its business deals in the current war. Cal and Collins were former roommates so Cal and his blogging sidekick Della (Rachel MacAdams) get the story.
I’m going to jump ahead slightly in the review to the actors because its been nagging me. I love Russell Crowe…as an actor, not as some man crush (hides Gladiator poster). I will say Crowe does everything right acting wise in his portrayal of Cal. HOWEVER, I could not shake the feeling he was one of the biggest miscasts of this year. The picture I got of Cal is that he is a slob like Columbo, has the charm of maybe Fletch, and has the tenacity of a Bob Woodward. While Crowe does his best to grow some hippie hair and put on a few pounds, he still looks physically imposing and that he is going to beat someone’s ass on a moments notice. There is nothing wrong with the performance, but it was still distracting. MacAdams does a fine job I guess but all she has to work with is the eager cub reporter angle. Ben Affleck continues to make smart decisions when it comes to rebuilding his career in taking small roles and even directing Gone Baby Gone. I have always said Affleck works well in the context of a strong ensemble cast and not as the action star/romantic lead who has to carry the whole picture.
But to get back on track State of Play is a good movie. Its a kind of thriller version of All the President’s Men with some action thrown in. There is a conspiracy theory private enterprise armies that actually works in the context of this movie. The movie also wraps up well which is great as usually these kinds of movies have ludicrous endings that don’t make any sense. There are still some scenes that don’t work and some angles which don’t pan out but for the most part State of Play is enjoyable. If you are hard up for something to watch, I think you will find it entertaining.