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State of Play (2009)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  17 April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 108,641 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 230 user | 250 critic | 36 from

When a congressional aide is killed, a Washington D.C. journalist starts investigating the case involving the congressman, his old college friend.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Collins (as Robin Wright Penn)
PointCorp Insider
Sarah Lord ...


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Find The Truth See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, language including sexual references, and brief drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |



Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los secretos del poder  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,071,280 (USA) (17 April 2009)


$36,965,395 (USA) (12 June 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cal refers to his friend, Congressman Stephen Collins, as Sliberty, another reference to Pittsburgh. East Liberty, a section of Pittsburgh, is shortened by natives to Sliberty. It's one of those things by which you know someone is from Pittsburgh. See more »


When Stephen shows Cal the video message from Sonia, the Nokia N95 mobile was in the down slide position but seconds later it was slid up so the keypad was displayed. See more »


Rep. George Fergus: [to Cal] You are going to be out of a job even before the devil can even say your name... SON!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The printing process of a newspaper is shown as the ending credits start to show up. See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.50 (2010) See more »


The Night Pat Murphy Died
Arranged by Alan Doyle, Bob Hallett (as Robert Hallett), Sean McCann, Darrell Power
Performed by Great Big Sea
Courtesy of Sonic Entertainment Group and Warner Music Canada Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Pleasant Throw Back to Early Pressburger/Powell Espionage and a Pakula Classic
16 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whether you loved em' or hated em', espionage thrillers made up a generous portion of cinema from the 1940-50's. With fast paced, edge of your seat story lines, plot twists, political undertones and dramatic personal struggles with morality, nobody did it better than Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell. Their attention to character detail and it's purpose in conjunction with the narrative gave heart and humanity to this new string of movies which could have fallen into similar (yet shallower) alpha male characters such as James Bond. Never the less, we cannot forget that ultimately if it weren't for their vision and invention of the genre, Hollywood may have never capitalized on the staggeringly profitable Bond franchise that's still going strong today.

In the mid 70's, due to the heat of the political environment at that time, the genre decided to go in the same direction. All The Presidents Men, brought to light the investigative strategies of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and tackled the Watergate scandal from the perspective of the Washington Post. As audiences, we shared in the thrill of being able to follow the case as it unfolded, interviewing witnesses and piecing together clues in order to make a 10 O'clock print deadline. We were part of the chase, the scandal and always privy to the evidence necessary to solve the mystery at hand...that is until a new piece of evidence arose and bashed in all of our original assumptions.

State of Play may be the first film to pay homage to this Pakula classic while dually creating more poignant themes for today's political atmosphere. Crowe plays a reporter for the Washington Post and McAdams, an internet blogger, serving as our Woodward and Bernstein clones on the case of a Senator, Affleck, whose mistress succumbs to a rather untimely death VIA train tracks. To add insult to injury, it turns out that our reporter and senator are practically best friends. The plot unfolds, relationships falter and the real truth, to our pleasant surprise, blindsides us like a drunk driver on a narrow road.

Director Kevin Macdonald clearly knows what he's doing here and along with a well written screenplay by Tony Gilroy, carefully crafts a neat, sharp and extremely entertaining thrill ride of a movie whose run time is 2 hours and 15 minutes, but feels like 30. State of Play never fails at keeping you guessing, does a fine job of throwing in a few curve balls, and leaves you with a clean taste in your mouth come end credits. What more do you want? Sure. It isn't the next Best Picture and Crowe won't take home an Oscar, but you'll enjoy some nail biting action scenes and there are much worse things to look at than Rachel McAdams on the big screen for a few hours.

Helen Mirren is delightful in what little screen time she is given. Affleck is "good", although decided to play it completely safe in a role that even he really can't screw up. Lets face it, he needed to gain even a small amount of points since Hollywoodland and the flops that followed in his footsteps.

Overall, you'll be as pleased and refreshed as I was to see a picture that has the finesse of an espionage thriller, the entertainment value of an All The Presidents Men political drama and the edginess that we should expect from a modern day piece of cinema that doesn't star Miley Cyrus.

125 of 178 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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