Wednesday 22 April 2009

State of Play

We saw Paul Abbott's magnificent newspaper-political thriller State of Play tonight. The film adaptation transplanted to a thinly disguised Washington Post newsroom casts Russell Crowe as the crusading journalist conflicted by his friendship with the ostensibly right on crusading congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) whose world starts to fall apart after the death of his mistress and researcher. Having seen the great BBC TV series on which this is based is no handicap in watching this taut thriller, with other fine performances from Helen Mirren as the newspaper editor, Robin Wright Penn as Collins's wife and Rachel McAdams as a cub reporter-cum- newspaper blogger. The complex conspiracy theory plot is leavened with some great lines about the world of newspapers and blogging, as Crowe gives another brilliant turn as the old-fashioned reporter in the battered car and dated computer, but the right instincts. The film will hold your attention throughout with Kevin Macdonald's taut direction.

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