The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Movie Review: State of Play

State of Play

Grade: A-

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Jeff Daniels, and Jason Bateman.

What happens?

Based on the BBC television program, a reporter gets embroiled in a fight against Blackwater...I mean a nondescript mercenary paramilitary agency called PointCorp to clear a senator's name after the girl the senator was sleeping with dies.

Moral of the story:

Don't sleep with your coworker. Don't anger the zombie soldier. News reporting is super awesome and dangerous.

Why it gets an A- :

Great story, great story...shaky camera...Rachel McAdams, plot twist, plot twist...Robin Wright Penn, Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck love triangle...shaky camera...Helen Mirren, zombie ex-military man, Jeff Daniels...shaky camera...Jason Bateman as the bisexual, high-out-of-his-mind PR agent...plot twists, intrigue...limp ending...

It's safe to say that when my worst criticism is that someone couldn't hold their camera properly, the movie succeeded on multiple levels. There's more intrigue than action and it is often hard to keep track of all the major players, but the story never lets you down. The pace is also just right--your popcorn will never be more interesting than what's happening on screen. And, you'll be too preoccupied counting Ben Affleck's gray hairs and the number of times he looks older than Russell Crowe to turn away.

This is, in truth, a film as much about the process of journalism as it is about Washington scandals. Russell Crowe, the journalist, is the hero of the story. Crowe and other reporters brave the corrupt social web of American politics and search for the truth despite corporate and military pressure. The film showcases everything that is right and wrong with American journalism and gives you a critical look at the industry/passion that tells the world what it needs to know.

In other words, there aren't nearly as many car chases as there are newsroom meetings. If that's what you're craving, I'd suggest watching "Crank High Voltage."

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