Tomas Gallucci (schpydurx) wrote,
Tomas Gallucci

The State of State of Play

State of Play blue shirt

State of Play delivers on its promise to aspiring journalists to get adrenaline pumping and imaginations running wild as the viewer is treated to what it must be like to work a "real" story in a big metro. Crowe's character Cal is a seasoned, "old-time" reporter i.e. print media. Rachel McAddams' (who will forever be known as "the chick from The Notebook") Della Frye is a snippy blogger who churns out more content more often than Cal. Though Della is labeled as unseasoned, this relationship isn't played up like a buddy-cop franchise, vis-à-vis Lethal Weapon.

Cal's a-long-time-ago roommate--now Senator Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck)--is today's news topic after his Monica Lewniski young, attractive intern is found to be murdered. When Senator Collins shows up on Cal's doorstep that evening, the race is on at the Washington Globe to get the whole story. Instead of taking up his boss' suggestion of bringing in another seasoned reporter, Cal politics for blogger Della to be his partner-in-crimewriting.

There's been much ink spilled bitching about how State of Play and The Soloist are movies designed to prop up a dead industry. Nonsense! State of Play is a movie about chasing down the story.

Take away the newsroom workplace aspect and assume that blogging is the way that everyone consumes their news. Still the same film, isn't it? So long as no no-name blogger scoops the story, there will always be pros who have connections, tips and sources. That is what journalism is about--recording the facts and leaving the journey to the reader.

Oddities: Cal isn't the typical embittered has-been that saves the day one more time while passing on his secrets to his tag-a-long. Instead, Cal is rather affable all-in-all. Robin Wright Penn makes for a stunning Senator's wife despite the fact that she is in tears the majority of her screen-time. Jeff Daniels makes another Traitor-like cameo which seems to be his MO. Similarly, Jason Bateman scores another groundhog role with State of Play.

Kevin Macdonald has a good start for what could be a long career in features should he decide to give up his documentary filmmaking ways. (Previous Macdonald feature that got press: The Last King of Scotland)

Will this film make money? It's hard to say. Rising ticket prices means fewer movies seen in theaters per year by average Joe Blow. Add to this the consternation that Crowe has been reported to be the least profitable actor and all signs point to no. In the end, it all comes down to whether or not people want to see a journalistic thriller.
Tags: film review, state of play, writing sample: film review
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