I was mildly excited about State of Play, as it looked like the type of smart political thriller I typically enjoy. I thought it would be in the same vein of the classic Three Days of the Condor or at least as good as 2007’s Lions for Lambs. While it was a fairly decent movie, it was not as good as either of those I just mentioned.
Russell Crowe (American Gangster) stars as an investigative reporter who is looking into the death of a congressman’s mistress. Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland) gives a turn as the congressman, Stephen Collins. Helen Mirren (Shadowboxer) plays Crowe’s editor at the newspaper, and Rachel McAdams (Red Eye) is a fellow reporter. My problem with the movie was that it went out of its way to present one situation when the truth ended up being with another scenario that was obvious all along. I know that sounds vague, but the gist is that the movie seemed disingenuous and anti-climactic. Despite boasting an above-average cast, State of Play was not the smart thriller I’d hoped. Russell Crowe was fine, as was Ben Affleck, but it just wasn’t enough. Obviously the congressman will be implicated initially when news breaks that he was having an affair with the young woman who was killed. If you are going to eventually expose him, then don’t go out of your way to make it seem like he is innocent. That feels like a bait and switch to me. State of Play is a solid pay-per-view or Netflix choice, but if you’re looking for the next great political thriller, I’d suggest you keep it moving.