State of Play is the film adaptation of the 2003 BBC TV series of the same name, condensed into film length with the location moved to Washington DC. Crowe plays McAffrey an old school journalist who is old college friends with slick Congressman Collins (Affleck).
A man is shot on the street and Collins's assistant falls in front of subway train on her way to an important hearing – two seemingly unrelated incidents that are in fact linked. A link emerges so McAffrey decides to uncover the full story with the help new journalist and blogger Frye (McAdams). McAffrey begins to untangle the story while trying to keep some distance with Collins and his wife – both of whom share history with him.
I never saw the original BBC programme so I came to this film with no particular expectations and really enjoyed it. I found it interesting, thought provoking and it kept me guessing. There are mercenaries for hire, corrupt businesses, sex scandals and assassins in this film as well as a good intelligent storyline.
At the films heart is the scruffy, unkempt McAffrey, Crowe plays the part very well, his appearance is in stark contrast to the slick, polished politician, which is why the friendship doesn't entirely ring true sometimes. Maybe though that is the point – Crowe looks like an everyman whereas Affleck has the refinement of a career politician on the way up.
The rest of the cast are good, McAdams plays the eager web savvy new reporter – looking for her first big break with the hardened old pro. Mirren is great as the tough talking editor, she reminded me of a fouler mouthed M (Judy Dench) from the new Bond movies.
Theres great acting and a great story need I say anything else.
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Russell Crowe – Cal McAffrey
Ben Affleck – Rep Stephen Collins
Rachel McAdams – Della Frye
Helen Mirren – Cameron Lynne
Robin Wright Penn – Anne Collins
Read more at: Nerve Curve