TOP 100 MOVIES in 2009
Films by Year
Films by Director
Films by Actor
Films by Actress
Films by Alphabet
Submit your LOGLINE
TV Script Contest
1st Scene Contest
Short Story Contest
Comic Book Contest
Classic TV Contest
The West Wing
When the assistant (and mistress, of course) of a rising-star Congressman played by dim-bulb Ben Affleck is “brutally murdered” (is there a pleasant kind of murder really?), all sorts of dirty secrets come to the fore. A scrappy reporter played by scruffy/surly Russell Crowe, who happens to be an old pal of the Congressman, is caught in the middle when he investigates the crime and steps in the cesspool of said dirty secrets.
CLICK HERE and watch 2009 MOVIES FOR FREE!
Kevin McDonald, director of State of Play, is an Oscar winning documentary director. He has a great ability to bring out a lot of emotion in a real situation. So it makes sense that he was handpicked to direct this film. He shot Stay of Play almost like a documentary film while a roster of great actors bring the emotions to life.
As stated in previous reviews, I am a sucker for these 'who done it/figuring it out' movies. I just enjoy them a great deal as it lets my mind work the way I like it to while also watching a movie. These are really the only films now that make me feel like a kid again. Which of course is ironic because I wouldn't be watching these films when I was a kid. But for some reason I get all giddy inside when in the midst of watching these movies. It reminds me why I got in this racket in the fist place.
So I'm a fan of Thriller/Crime movies. And when you're a fan of something, you have high expectations. I enjoyed State of Play a great deal. From a film-making standpoint, this is a perfectly executed film.
And it's well acted. Ben Affleck plays an extremely difficult role where he is a man with a lot of mixed emotions and really doesn't know what to think. This is hard to portray on screen as characters like this are usually better suited for novels. And critics who know nothing about acting will probably give mixed reviews of his performance. But he does a nice job and is really the straw that stirs the drink of the film. Meaning, he mixes the layers of the film and blends them together smoothly. He is the character that is most like us whether we want to believe that or not.
As Russell Crowe's character is our leading man with the largest character arc, Affleck's character is the one with largest emotional arc. Crowe plays a reporter who is a fully developed guy and knows his values and will never leave them. Affleck plays a Congressman who like many young politicians thinks he knows his true values but when push comes to shove (or when money and/or a female anatomy gets shoved in their faces) things change for them.
But there are a few problems with State of Play.
The #1 problem is that the plot takes over in the 2nd act and we really never get to know our characters at all. They set up all of the leading and supporting characters nicely in the 1st act, but then they kind of leave them behind as this complex story was the main driving force. That's fine in many films, but this is really a moral tale of humanity and the climax isn't as powerful as it can be because we don't care about the characters that much. And it's as simple as that.
I loved the themes they presented in this film. It's a complicated world these days, especially in the newspaper and media industry. There are definitely two schools of thought when distributing information. The first one (the old school), is to sit on a story for a few days or more, obtain all of the information and then write the story. The second one (the new school), is to hear about a story and/or situation, write about it and post it on the internet in under an hour. The intellectual reaction VS the emotional reaction.
Crowe is the old school and Rachel McAdams (playing blogger/journalist Della Frye) is the new school. They both are very smart people and they both make the case for both worlds they currently live in. But not in that obvious snarky way Hollywood likes to do when two opposite world clash. These characters are much too smart to get into conversations without substance.
And that's what I loved about State of Play. It's a smart film made for people who enjoy a movie with intellectual and moral conflicts.
In fact, I like this story so much it's actually bigger than a 2 hour movie. Then I found out it's actually based on a British Mini-Series and that made sense to me. I wished they gave us a 4 part US movie version of State of Play. But in this world that would be impossible.
So Hollywood, let's make more of these films. They always stand the test of time. As of this writing, State of Play is opening against Zac Efron's 17 Again. 17 Again will probably triple State of Play at the box office, but it's a forgotten film 10 minutes after you see it. A film like State of Play stays with you for awhile because it presents universal themes.