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State of Play

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Original title
State of Play
Running time
127 min.
United States United States
Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Billy Ray (Remake: Paul Abbott)
Alex Heffes
Rodrigo Prieto
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Co-production United States-United Kingdom; Universal Pictures / Working Title Films / Studiocanal / Relativity Media / Andell Entertainment
Thriller. Mystery. Drama | Journalism. Remake
Synopsis / Plot
Based on the BBC mini-series of the same title, a team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try and solve the murder of a congressman's mistress. D.C. investigative journalist Cal McCaffrey's (Russell Crowe) street smarts lead him to untangle a mystery of murder and collusion among some of the nation's most promising political and corporate figures. Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party's contender for the upcoming presidential race -- until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out.

McCaffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and ruthless editor from Washington Globe, Cameron (Helen Mirren), who has assigned him to investigate. As he and partner Della (Rachel McAdams) try to uncover the killer's identity, McCaffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structures. And in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one's integrity, love or life is ever safe.
Critics' reviews
  • "This efficient, admirably coherent thriller (...) has a wistful air about it as regards the fourth estate at a time when the profession is dangling by a thread."
  • "A smart, ingenious thriller (...) It has a great takeoff, levels nicely, and then seems to land on autopilot. (...) Rating: ★★★ (out of four)."
  • "It’s tricky, it’s surprising, and it’s largely faithful to the original mini-series, but in context it’s a nonevent. It’s like a time bomb that’s never dismantled but never explodes. The movie is good enough that the ending leaves you … not angry, exactly. Unfulfilled."
  • "What promises to be a smart, sharp inquiry into the complicated intersection of private vice and political corruption -a vivid essay on the nature of power and the ambiguous pursuit of truth- turns into a superficially clever, self-important and finally incoherent thriller."
  • "Features a handsome production and terrific performances."
  • "[an] excitingly twisty and topical new politics-and-media conspiracy thriller (...) If a thriller with the verve, fire, and — yes — the timely substance of State of Play can't catch on, then movies for grown-ups may well prove to be as endangered as newspapers"
  • "State of Play is the latest incoherently written, mass-entertainment gibberish by the overrated Tony Gilroy. (...) bearing the burden of the same smart-aleck Gilroy trademarks (...) labored plot twists hammered to death by a storm of clichés."
  • "An effectively involving journalism-cum-conspiracy yarn with a bang-bang opening and a frantic closer."
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