State of Play

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels and Helen Mirren. Political thriller. Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray. Directed by Kevin Macdonald.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Oscar® winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in a blistering thriller about a rising congressman and an investigative journalist embroiled in a case of seemingly unrelated, brutal murders. Crowe plays D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey, whose street smarts lead him to untangle a mystery of murder and collusion among some of the nation’s most promising political and corporate figures in State of Play, from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland).

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 on 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 a ruthless editor, Cameron (Oscar® winner 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 coverup 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.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I like stories about newspapers, despite the fact that the movies always glamorize editorial powwows with a self-righteous bent (the papers are always going broke, but they resist becoming tabloid rags – and oh, how they hate Republicans). The reporters, though sloppy in lifestyle, are noble seekers of truth, outing the hypocrisy of bad guys who generally lean to the right. And sure enough, in State of Play, the Jeff Daniels character is a religious right-winger, who just so happens to be a hypocrite and a bad guy. You know he’s a bad guy right off. He’s wearing a lapel flag and moves around like a stiff board with his self-righteous nose stuck firmly in the air. What else could he be? Oh, I’m not giving much away. Believe me, there are plenty of other villains to be uncovered.

Putting the political slant aside, State of Play is a gripping espionage thriller. The cast is engaging, the direction and camera work exuberant, and the writing is smart and acerbic, despite the fact that it’s convoluted and has more suspects than a Charlie Chan movie.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude remarks.

Obscene Language: Fourteen obscenities, mostly the s-word.

Profanity: Christ’s name is uttered four times in anger.

Violence: A sniper guns down three people; a threatening man is gunned down by the police; a brutal beating. Blood: Blood from wounded and diyng people.

Sex: A couple of sexual innuendos, but no graphic situations; implied adultery.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 127 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature audiences

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