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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 109,500 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 232 user | 250 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

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
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Did You Know?


The scene in which Anne Collins (Robin Wright) makes a statement to the press was shot at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The production employed the presence of several real-world journalists amongst the extras in a scene. The group included Bob Woodward, Margaret Carlson, Bob Schieffer, John Palmer, E.J. Dionne Jr., Katty Kay, and Steve Clemons. See more »


At 37:55 a closeup of the Gulf War group photo is onscreen briefly, the camera cuts away and then at 37:58 cuts back to the same photo which has been altered. The smiling face of the soldier (Bingham) at the far right has been changed to a different unsmiling face. Also, the faces of Collins and Bingham have been Photoshopped the second time the photo is shown. See more »


Cameron Lynne: I want you to do a complete rundown on this Sonia Baker: who she knew, who she blew, the color of her knickers.
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 #19.76 (2011) See more »


Peter and the Wolf
Written by Sergei Prokofiev (as Serge Prokofieff)
Performed by The Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony (as The Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Conducted by Ondrej Lenard
Courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes on behalf of Naxos Rights International Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Yesterday's News Still Blog-Worthy
20 April 2009 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

A gruff old-school reporter (Russell Crowe playing his A-game) becomes personally entangled in a breaking news story surrounding his old college buddy turned congressman (Ben Affleck, not as bad as you would think) and a young female aid who died under mysterious circumstances in the surprisingly plausible political thriller "State of Play" from director Kevin MacDonald who was previously responsible for "The Last King of Scotland". Though designed as a throw-back to paranoid investigative thrillers from the 1970's, relevance is gained when the massive cover-up revealed becomes a vehicle for the filmmakers to explore the death of print news at the hand of digital mediums.

The twisty and engaging screenplay is credited to three scribes: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray. But it's Gilroy's fingerprints that shape the story with all the overlapping dialogue and conspiracy talk that will remind many of his "Michael Clayton". Adapted from a sprawling BBC miniseries created by Paul Abbott, the trio is especially deft in their condensing of the story into a fully digestible two hours. Even as new characters and twists keep coming, the audience is never left out in the cold. They also give the cast plenty to chew on with some great throw-away lines amidst all the posturing between the cops, reporters, politicians and sleaze-bags.

Though it's Crowe and Helen Mirren as his sparring and quick-witted boss who shine the most, this is essentially an ensemble piece, and it's especially clever when Jason Bateman arrives on screen for a few pivotal scenes as a smug public relations guru who's too dumb to realize he knows too much. The cast also includes Robin Wright Penn as Affleck's wife, Jeff Daniels as the arrogant majority whip and Harry Lennix, who as a D.C. detective makes a compelling case here for the lead role in the Barack Obama Story. The only miscalculation in the casting is poor Rachel McAdams, lovely but annoying in her high-pitch as Crowe's blogging tag-along looking to kick it old-school and get something in print.

By the third act "State of Play" overplays its hand in its attempts to be timely with too much talk of the privatization of the military, Capitol Hill sex scandals and traditional newspapers losing out in the digital age to bloggers more concerned with gossip than real journalism. It could've also been more subtle in its preaching about the importance of serious investigative reporting. It should be commended, however, for an otherwise smart screenplay that doesn't spell out all its twists and turns too early and the well polished cast who give the film a slick sheen. Even though it might be reporting on yesterday's news, "State of Play" still makes for solid rainy day entertainment and is worthy of blogging about.

72 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Not a patch on BBC version betterthanronaldo
Has Stephen Collins done anything to land him in jail? boweasel
4 deaths? Zebblin
No one but Bill Cosby... BitterBlue911
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Is this the movie I'm thinking of??? moviebuf-11
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