State of Play

oops, been a while since my last post, but with holidays and the lack of interesting films at the cinema I seem to avoided venturing out of the house to the local movie theatres. Anywho, having a Wednesday afternoon free I decided to hang out with the elderly and watch a film at 2.30pm in the afternoon. The film of choice? State of Play, the Hollywood adaptation of the successful BBC TV series.

Overall I felt this film was about as entertaining as a BBC drama series (I mean that in a positive way) but I just didn't feel it pulled off the "Thriller" (with a capital T) in the way that other political thrillers have done previously. I still don't really know why. The soundtrack has a suitable amount of high strings and pounding, ominous bass lines to heighten a sense of dred (particularly in the car park scene), the acting is solid though not exceptional and the cinematography diverse getting the 'gritty' underside of Washington to contrast well with the slick, polished corridors of Capitol Hill.

I guess I just couldn't quite marry the idea of Russel Crowe (who plays lead investigative journalist Cal McAffey) being 'old college buddies' with Ben Affleck (who plays Senetor Stephen Collins) i don't think it was a miss casting as both actors played thier roles extremely well. I already think Afflect is slick, so playing a politician seemed perfectly appropriate, but a polician who used to be a millitary hero? No, that's just Hollywood farce - perhaps an attempt to give some credibility to their heavily criticised previous government official? Who knows, even though it was vaguely important to the plot (the evil private security firm Point Corp ruined his army buddies) but it seemed ridiculous.

Also, the whole, you're-out-of-date-stick-in-the-mus-I'm-new-hip-exciting-blogger idea didn't really work for me. Rachel McAdams is pretty good at playing the Washington Globe's sassy, young internet blogger, Della Frye, but it's just to obvious a set up between her and Crowe's character. Yes, yes we get it old school journalism has little respect for opinionated blogging, and vice vera. But what's this, they are working together? Overcoming thier lack of understanding of each other's disicplines.. and what's this, they've produced a fantastic piece of joint journalism which, my goodness, they are jointly taking credit for. Well, as a writer, and working with many other, far better, more successful writers too, I find it hard to believe that it would be a joint effort. In my experience there would only be one name printed next to that title, and it sure wouldn't have been the blogger's. What a predictable and sappy resolution to that little conflict.

Helen Mirren is an interesting character too, but I felt she was an American's idea of a British female editor. Throwing around phrases like "tosser" and "bugger off" just sound a bit contrived to me. I think it was a lost opportunity as Mirren is an excellent actress, but the script was going to do her no favours.

Overall, I was unsure who were the police in this investigative thriller film? The Washington police seemed to be the distant parents who would stride into the Washington Globe's office and give McAffrey and his team a slap on the wrist for withholding evidence, and yet it is the newspaper who solve the riddle? Odd. But maybe that's how investigative journalists work, having the freedom to take an unorthodox route to finding information that the Police are restricted to follow.

State of Play opens with a double shooting in the dark, g'rimey back streets of Washington. Cal McAffrey arrives on the scene to start another day's work investigating the murder of one and the injury of the other party. Sonia Baker is congressional aide to Senetor Collins and Della is tasked to tune her detective skills and investigate her apparant suicide. All three murders are linked to private security firm Point Corp and there seems an imminate threat to the credibility of Senetor Collins. As Collins friend, McAffrey sets out to clear his friend's name and secure a front page story and along the way stumbles into a huge government conspiracy (of course).

Best Scene: the opening scene where a young man chases through the streets of Washington, to hide, desperate and panting in the bins of an underpass. Bang bang you're dead.

Overall: 3 out 5, definetly entertaining

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