A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Congressman and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye, Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story. Written by
The Massie Twins
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton originally signed on for the movie that would have reunited them for the first time since Fight Club (1999). However, Pitt pulled out before Thanksgiving 2007, when rewrites were made impossible because of the writers' strike. He was replaced by Russell Crowe. Pitt's departure delayed the start of shooting, and made Norton unavailable as he was committed to start shooting Leaves of Grass (2009) in January. He was replaced by Ben Affleck. See more »
Before Della runs after Cal in one of the office scenes near the end, she is wearing the pen necklace he gave her. It was shown that she just got up and ran after him, but the next time we see her she is not wearing the pen necklace. See more »
Crowe brings his A game (despite an occasional accent slip) to his role as a world-weary reporter with the newly purchased Washington Globe, helmed by Helen Mirren's very engaging take on Perry White/Katharine Graham. If you like thrillers you won't be disappointed in this pic that runs 2 hours and feels less than half of that. "State of Play" isn't perfect and the number of plot points that need to come together veritably dictate some implausibility at the end but if you compare this film to any five suspense-thrillers (at least Hollywood-made) that have come out in the past five years, you have to appreciate the whole package: Acting (and I disagree with the Ben Affleck naysayers here, he acquitted himself very well), character acting (Viola Thomas, Jason Batemen and Harry Lennix compete equally with a fraction of the time of the major players), interesting and gripping plot and story development, and overall believability all make this a first-rate film and one all involved should be proud of. The subtext of love and loss surrounding the non- entertainment print media also lends more than a little credibility and sympathy to the effort. I hope this film succeeds on a financial level and inspires at least one or two ambitious filmmakers to make movies in the same vein. Without doubt, there are too few genre pics of this caliber and State of Play shows it can be done well, even into the 21st century.
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