Friday, April 17, 2009
I LOVE THRILLERS.
STATE OF PLAY (B+)
This film was an intricate plot that features and elaborate storyline based on a British mini-series also called State of Play. The 6 hour series was broken down into a 127 minute screenplay written by Tony Gilroy, Matthew Michael Carnahan, and Billy Ray. These three very talented writers have brought scripts for the films: Breach, Flightplan, Volcano, The Kingdom, Duplicity, Michael Clayton, and the Bourne trilogy. That is a long list of successful movies, and these three combine to write another good one. In first paragraph tradition, Rachael McAdams (below) will be the first star mentioned because of her stunning looks and her talent as an actress.
Russell Crowe stars as Cal McAffrey, a Washington Post news reporter following a lead on a double homicide. A day later a young woman named Sonia Baker is mysteriously murdered at a subway station. She was investigating a corporate conspiracy with the government that is headed by a member of congress, Stephen Collins (Ben Afleck). With the help of fellow reporter Della Frye, (McAdams) Cal and Della team up to uncover a correlation between the three murders, and that the married congressman Collins was having an affair with Sonia.
That is when the plot really begins to get interesting. As Cal works his many sources we begin to watch the extensive story unfold, and answers to questions posed throughout the film. The nefarious corporation and all its players go to great lengths to stop Cal and Della from ultimately unmasking the truth.
The characters are interesting, but the script does not develop them as much as I would have liked. It is the only flaw in the script. The actors themselves were top notch, and gave the film even more depth. Crowe and McAdams are superb like usual, and Cameron Lynn and Jeff Daniels are strong supporting roles. Ben Afleck did a decent job in an emotionally demanding role, which is never his specialty. By far the best role in State of Play is the corporation's nerveless Public Relations officer played by Jason Bateman.
The film features many elements of conflict between its characters that keep the story provoking more questions as it moves along. The clash between the old school newspaper reporter Cal and the young internet reporter Della provide nice groundwork for the feature.
Overall, the film as a whole had many good elements. The dark hues used in the cinematography created camera shots that gave an eerie feel of uncertainty. The soundtrack also provided suspense to the scenes, and made the danger seem to creep around the corner. State of Play is not difficult to follow, but you will need to pay attention to pick it all up. Definitely a thriller I would recommend to anyone who appreciates them. This film is not for the casual viewer, but anyone smart enough to give it a chance can probably get entertainment out of it. I say see it.
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