State Of Play Review

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This superior political thriller was originally a hugely influential and groundbreaking BBC series at the time of its original broadcast. Now we have the Hollywood treatment, with many aspects being condensed or excised to allow a reasonable running time of two hours. The end result remains surprisingly enjoyable and thrilling. Of course the whole environment has been uprooted to Washington DC, and while its sad to see another British idea transplanted, Kevin MacDonald has done a tremendous job.

Russell Crowe is excellent as the grizzly reporter, caught between loyalties to his friends and those of his profession. Ben Affleck despite some criticism suits the clean-cut ex-military hero, turned congressman. As Cal, Crowe slowly pieces together random murders with a pending scandal that looks set to shock the political scene on the hill. Helen Mirren is underplayed as the ruthless newspaper editor, with Rachel McAdams arguably in her breakout role as a blogger turned proper reporter.

State of Play is thoroughly recommended, it harks back to an era of classic thrillers that relied on the storyline (with accompanying twists) rather than any lavish stunts, explosions or bedrooms scenes. This makes it extremely refreshing, especially as it shows how to adapt a television series without alienating what made it popular originally.

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