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State of Play (2009) [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast, including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams & Helen Mirren in the blistering thriller about deception, manipulation & corruption. When D.C. Reporter Cal McCaffrey (Crowe) is assigned to investigate the murder of an assistant to an up-and-coming politician (Affleck), he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the nation’s power structures. In a town of spin-doctors and wealthy power brokers, he will discover one truth: when fortunes are at stake, no one’s integrity, love or life is safe. From director Kevin Macdonald of The Last King of Scotland, State of Play brings together gripping performances, riveting suspense and is “sophisticated, intelligent and powerful” (Shawn Edwards, Fox-TV).
The superlative British miniseries becomes a smart, soap opera-free film courtesy of The Last King of Scotland's Kevin Macdonald. His writers, including Tony Gilroy (the Bourne series) and Billy Ray (Breach), haven't simply condensed and Americanized the six-hour series--they've reinvented it. Now set in Washington D.C., veteran journalist Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe, replacing Brad Pitt, who dropped out over script changes) still collaborates with editor Cameron Lynne (a delectably imperious Helen Mirren) and junior reporter Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) on a story involving Cal's politico pal, Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), but there's a new subtext behind their plunge into sex scandals and corporate malfeasance, since this State of Play also eulogizes old-school beat reporting, and in interviews, Macdonald has acknowledged the influence of newsprint classics like All the President's Men (the Watergate Hotel even shows up as a location). So, while Cal and Della, the Globe’s blogger, try to determine whether the congressman’s aide Sonia (with whom he was having an affair) died at her own hands or the hands of another, they're also fighting for their careers and the survival of their ailing paper. Stephen's political rival Senator Fergus (Jeff Daniels), does his best to stymie their efforts, but PR flack Dominic Foy (Jason Bateman) becomes a reluctant ally. Though fans of the series may miss a few characters, like Cameron's son (played by James McAvoy in the BBC version), Oscar-winning documentarian-turned-filmmaker Macdonald remains true to its spirit. Be sure to stay through the poignant end credits, during which he returns to his doc roots. --Kathleen C. Fennessy --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Russell Crowe plays Cal, a newspaper reporter who has pretty much seen it all and done it all (aside from working out or cutting his hair). A young woman dies at a subway station, but all is not what it seems. Turns out the woman worked for Cal's old room mate at college (played by Ben Affleck). The room mate is having marital problems, but not because of the current affair. Newbie reporter Della (Rachel McAdams) wants to be a "real" reporter instead of just writing blogs, and the story is in part told from her point of view. Like us, she doesn't always understand the ins and outs, the who-has-shared-whose-bed, corporate cover-ups, or why the world works the way it does in Washington, DC, and when things are explained to her, we too finally understand. There are double crosses, triple-crosses, backstabbing, word plays, behind-the-scenes skullduggery, and plot twists that will keep you guessing right till the end of this film, which in some ways reminds me of oldies such as "All the President's Men".
Russell Crowe once again made himself into the character, which, unforunately, meant gaining enough weight to make him look like constipated hippo when he runs, and his hair is often a character unto itself as it flies across his face. He looks the part of a "Too old and tired to care" reporter who is one mistake away from being unemployed, and the other characters are believable too, including Helen Mirren, who plays Cal's snippy and sarcastic boss.Read more ›
Although I don't really approve of the current Hollywood penchant for remakes (it smacks of laziness and a lack of imagination), this film is a very creditable conspiracy thriller in its own right and the edgy conflict between old-school and modern journalistic ideals (represented by Crowe and McAdams respectively) is a nice original touch. It's definitely a film we'd re-watch and we're tempted to get the BBC original, if only for its superb cast.
Most recent customer reviews
loved all the characters - the story line was terrific and it played out like a real possible situation. Very well donePublished on Sept. 15 2013 by Christine Bennett
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