State of Play

Boy, do I love a good journalism movie. I know, I know, I’m a journalist. It’d be like Evander Holyfield saying, “Damn! Raging Bull was awesome!” Wait, just to clarify, I do not see myself as the Evander Holyfield of journalism. He was the first boxing name that came to mind. Moving on. State of Play? Yeah. Awesome.

I saw this one with my grandma, who also liked it, but she had a few qualms with some of the actors. I actually thought all the acting was pretty great. Ben Affleck (herein referred to only as B-Fleck) got better as the movie progressed in a role that was really difficult. He played a three-faced congressman, Stephen Collins, who buried himself in a clusterfuck of an intrigue: He affair’d with a spy, knew she was a spy, knew she stopped being a spy when she fell for him, really screwed over the major corporation she was spying for, hired someone to follow her, that guy was batshit crazy, etc. That’s tough emotion to build. At least I think so.

This film was precious enough to bring the whole “conflict of interest” issue to the table, too. Russell Crowe—who I am quickly beginning to REALLY LIKE, DAMN IT—was Washington Globe reporter Cal McAffrey and also former roommate of Rep. Stephen Collins. They’re buddies, except for the fact that Cal has a thing for Collins’ wife (played by the underwhelming Robin Wright Penn). It just fascinates me, though: Russell Crowe basically has the same gruff, unimpressed, bored facial expression in all his films, yet he is so f’ing versatile. He was such a convincing reporter! My God! I’d want to work with him. He wasn’t afraid to work hard, miss deadline, piss his editor (Helen Mirren) off, whatever.

I really liked the relationship set up between Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) and McAffrey. He was tough on her, resentful of her blogosphere expertise, but he grew to trust her as a cub reporter. I also applaud McAdams for testing the serious-role waters here. She had reporter instincts, too.

This movie had a lot of twists and turns, as it was advertised a “thriller”, but it wasn’t the type to leave you confused (in a bad way). Everything was explained, yet every moment of suspense was deserved and realistic. The killer dude was creepy, which is always good when a killer dude is needed in a movie. He kind of looked like Michael McDonald. No, not that Michael McDonald. Actually, I’m not going to put the actor’s name down. You can look that up.

Oh, and did I mention that Jason Bateman is in this? Need I actually say more? He plays a drugged-up party-boy PR exec. With slicked back hair. Hot.