260 user 228 critic

State of Play (2009)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 17 April 2009 (USA)
2:29 | Trailer
When a congressional aide is killed, a Washington, D.C. journalist starts investigating the case involving the Representative, his old college friend.


Kevin Macdonald


Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay), Tony Gilroy (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
980 ( 310)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Russell Crowe ... Cal McAffrey
Ben Affleck ... Stephen Collins
Rachel McAdams ... Della Frye
Helen Mirren ... Cameron Lynne
Robin Wright ... Anne Collins (as Robin Wright Penn)
Jason Bateman ... Dominic Foy
Jeff Daniels ... George Fergus
Michael Berresse ... Robert Bingham
Harry Lennix ... Detective Bell
Josh Mostel ... Pete
Michael Weston ... Hank
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Gene Stavitz
Viola Davis ... Dr. Judith Franklin
David Harbour ... PointCorp Insider
Sarah Lord Sarah Lord ... Mandi


A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Representative's assistant (Maria Thayer) falls in front of a subway, two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe), who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Representative and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), 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


Who's telling the Lies? 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In the opening scene, Russell Crowe is shown singing "The Night Pat Murphy Died". In 2008, the band Gaelic Storm released a CD with a track titled "The Night I Punched Russell Crowe", based on what they claim to be a true story that happened to their lead singer, Patrick Murphy. See more »


WHYY is a non-commercial educational TV station licensed in Wilmington, Delaware, and a PBS station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. See more »


Rep. Stephen Collins: [sarcastically] I see you redecorated.
Cal McAffrey: Yeah, I moved the couch a couple of feet.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Rachel McAdams Performances (2018) 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 »

User Reviews

Watching a Solid, Well-Done Film Like STATE, Is Like Watching a Good Athlete or an Outstanding PerformerThey Make it Look So Easy!
2 August 2016 | by KissEnglishPastoSee all my reviews

.......from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA....and ORLANDO, FL

Tried to avoid having much in the way of expectations for STATE of PLAY, but it was hard to be oblivious to the all the general good buzz. Also, hard not to know beforehand that the cast is exceptional and that it's getting relatively high ratings and strong reviews. Still, other than that, didn't really want to find out any more! Watching a solid, well-done film like STATE, is like watching a good athlete or an outstanding performerThey all make it look SO EASY!

Just take an interesting, dynamic story; convert that into a cohesive, believable sounding screenplay; do your casting well, so you get a cast that can breathe life into the characters; craft the music to heighten the mood/ambiance at hand; edit the scenes for maximum impact and always know where you're going and be sure you take the movie in the direction of your vision! Easy-PeasyJapanesey! Those are some of STATE's pluses.

Like any movie it did have some minuses. I'll try and go over both. A powerhouse cast, that doesn't disappoint: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, and Jeff Daniels WOW! Did the A-list want IN on this project, or what?!? Although Crowe does a fine job, he falls a little short of true excellence. A difficult task, attempting to shine when surrounded by ALL that talent! One surprise: Ben Affleck, not exactly on my favorite "actors" list, turns in a deviously devilish performance as the congressman who is keenly aware of his media image and how to protect it.

But the big jaw-dropper here is Jason Bateman. His characterization fooled me completely! Had to wait for the credits to see who he was! His Uber- creepy-bottom-feeder-sleaze-ball was the film's real revelation! STATE falls down a bit because it is very light in the new and original Department. Still, it is a very well-crafted, entertaining movie! How's this for a chillingly ironic 10 year Date of authoring this review? SEP/11/11 --


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site [France]


USA | UK | France


English | Cantonese

Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

State of Play See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,071,280, 19 April 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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