Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2009

 

<img class="size-full wp-image-133" src="http://files.metropolis.co.jp/movies/files/2009/08/State-of-Play.jpg" alt="©2009 Universal

©2009 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Russell Crowe’s a scruffy, ink-stained veteran reporter at a thinly disguised Washington Post. Rachel McAdams serves as his foil, a plucky political gossip blogger at the paper. They rather improbably team up to solve a murder mystery involving a thinly disguised Blackwater security firm and an old college roommate of Crowe’s, now a Congressman and played by Ben Affleck, making full use of his one expression. It’s not really up to Crowe’s epic standards, but he puts in a convincing performance. The stone-faced Affleck is out of his league but avoids embarrassing himself. It’s the supporting actors that make this worth watching: Jeff Daniels as a party strongman, Helen Mirren as a tough chief editor and, best of all, Jason Bateman as a beyond-smarmy PR wonk. He’s clearly having fun. It’s a fairly well-written and involving traditional thriller, but only superficially clever. It has all the requisite plot twists and turns, though the final twist proves to be one too many, just about sinking the careful setup. A distillation of a six-hour BBC miniseries, it also feels overfed while at the same time leaving you unsatisfied with the wrap-up.