State Of Play (2009)


When a congressman’s research assistant is killed, his affair with her is exposed so he turns to an old college friend and journalist for help. But while trying to clear his name, he uncovers a multi-billion dollar conspiracy.

I saw the four hour BBC mini series a while back and my impression was that although it was a good, solid conspiracy thriller, the story could’ve been told in half the time. I was wrong. Upon watching the Hollywood version it has become obvious that what I thought at the time was unnecessary padding and flab was in fact the colour and depth of the characters and their relationships. With all of that trimmed away and the cast of character actors replaced with Hollywood hunks, what is left is just another generic thriller. Helen Mirren does a decent impersonation of Bill Nighy, but with the more colourful language removed she becomes just another movie newspaper editor bellowing about deadlines, inevitably uttering “You’ve got 48 hours!” and Rachel McAdams’ character is demoted to little more than an on-screen ornament. On the plus side Jason Bateman is great as the sleazy and self-serving PR man, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and the direction is efficient enough, Kevin MacDonald clearly having spent plenty of time studying the likes of All The President’s Men.

But as a whole there’s nothing here to mark it above the herd.



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