State of Play

Who (Whom?) do you trust?

  • Politicians? Nah...
  • Journalists? You've gotta be kidding!
  • The Military/Industrial Complex? It's obvious that Hollywood doesn't!

This movie asks the question, then commences to serve a paranoid view that pretty much slams all of the above.

Great cast:

  • Russell Crowe ("A Good Year" and "A Beautiful Mind") - bad hair, but at least it was clean. Crowe plays a traditional newspaper reporter who sees three seemingly unrelated murders and looks for a link.
  • Ben Affleck ("Pearl Harbor" and "Hollywoodland") - great hair and impeccably groomed. Affleck is an up-and-coming congressman investigating corruption between a multinational corporation and the military.
  • Rachel McAdams ("The Notebook" and "Red Eye") - altogether lovely. McAdams is the contemporary version of a reporter: She runs a blog for the newspaper.
  • Jeff Daniels ("The Lookout" and "Infamous") - a cipher this time out. Daniels is a senior politico who has become a power broker.
  • Helen Mirren ("Calendar Girls" and "The Queen") - profane and funny. Mirren is, in turns, exasperated, supportive and angry. She is far more interested in the bottom line than reform, so she would prefer a tawdry headline and increased sales, rather than a Pulitzer.
  • Robin Penn Warren ("Princess Bride" and "Forrest Gump") - once again, a lovely sad woman. Her character is married to the congressman, but has a history with the reporter.
  • Jason Bateman ("Juno" and "Arrested Development") - this guy just gets better and better! Bateman is a smarmy go-between who has turned information gathering to his financial advantage.

If you pay close attention, you can follow the convoluted plot; this is a grownup movie with philosophical and political questions rather than who is "hooking up" with whom. Affleck and Crowe had been college roommates, so they have a long-standing relationship. Yes, there is plenty of action and suspense, but Helen Mirren offers welcome relief with her acerbic lines, beautifully delivered, which articulate today's precarious financial situation for newspapers.

In my opinion, Jason Bateman stole the show. Okay, so maybe I am showing my prejudice, but even when he is an out-and-out villain, I just LIKE him.