State of Play

a georgeous young actress

Rachel McAdams

Russell Crow is one of the most likable and talented actors of his generation.

In his latest appearance on the big screen, Russell pairs with Ben Affleck in “State of Play” from Universal Studio Pictures. The movie did reasonably well in the box office with about 31 million dollars three weeks after its release.

State of Play is a rather good movie, but nothing extraordinary, I would say.

The movie’s acting is excellent. Russell Crow runs the show as in all his movies. State of Play revolves around his character Cal McAffrey, who is a maverick, overweight, but talented, intelligent and perspicacious newspaper journalist. Ben Affleck plays Stephen Collins, a Congressman who gets in a lot of trouble. Complementing the two, the lovely Rachel McAdams incarnates Della Frye,  Cal’s colleague journalist from the blogosphere. And Hellen Mirren adds Oscar quality acting in her role as Cameron Lynne who is running the newspaper.

The conflicting relations among this trio of journalists is one of the interesting aspects of the movie, as these three are all great actors. Russell Crow is the cool veteran journalist who knows all the tricks to get any information he needs. His dark side is that even his close friends never know if he is manipulating them to get some information. In this regard, this unorthodox and disillusioned personality is similar to his other recent role as Ed Hoffman in “Body of Lies“.

Rachel McAdams is the fresh out of school motivated (and beautiful) young blogging journalist who is still very idealistic about the profession. She makes a great couple with Russell. And Hellen Mirren is the experienced boss who is trying to lead this team. Unsuccessfully, as no one really leads Russell Crow, who does not hesitate to take the most dangerous paths to uncover the truth.

The plot in itself is one of these recurring corporate conspiracy theories that appear  on a regular basis. This is a genre that the public loves, with many masterpieces such as “Enemy of the State” eleven years ago.  To be honest, the story line from beginning to end is a little pushed to support the various dramatic events occurring during the movie. This is often the case in many movies, but here it seems a bit outstretched.

Murders, mystery, suspicions, they are all there, but it misses a zest of credibility in my opinion to make it all click. The first half of the movie is better than the second. As the story progressively unwinds, the viewer may wonder if this all makes sense or not.

The strongest part of the movie is the interaction between Russell Crow and Rachel McAdams. He must be nearly twice his age and acts in a very detached manner, showing no sign of interest (the usual trick). She is genuinely beautiful, sincere and idealist. The courting is really going in slow motion all the way. No love scene if this is what your are looking for (Russell does not do much of that anyway). A rather clumsy romantic scene toward the end reveals that he may have some interest (?). Yes, Russell plays one of his clumsiest ever role with regard to flirting.

If you like Russell Crow in an action and mystery packed movie, you  will like “State of Play“. But a much better recent achievement from Russell would be “American Gangster” for instance. The IMDB rating of 7.7/10 is fair. The director Kevin Macdonald is only moderately famous and has yet to strike a major hit. The script has been touched by five different writers and this is maybe why is feels a bit shaky.

The message of the movie: there are still idealistic heroes who seek the truth, and only the truth.