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State of Play (2009)

Director: Kevin MacDonald     Starring: Ben Affleck Russell Crowe
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Learn more about State of Play:

Format: DVD
Sku: 211417138
UPC: 025195040075
UPC 14: 00025195040075
Category Keywords: Infidelity  Political  Theatrical Release  Thriller
Rating: Game Rating Code
See more in Suspense
 
Find The Truth!
A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress.

"...likely to stand as one of the best films of 2009.  Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"This is a smart script. There is a wealth of twists, but none of them have to beat you over the head.  Rob Calvert, Premiere.com
"It is a refreshingly traditional star-driven thriller.  Scott Mendelson, FilmThreat.com
"An intelligent adult thriller about the death of newspapers.  Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com

Editor's Note
Director Kevin Macdonald moves from documentaries and the Idi Amin drama THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND to this fictional thriller that feels all too real at times. Based on the BBC miniseries of the same name, STATE OF PLAY stars Russell Crowe as Cal McCaffrey, an old-school-style journalist working for the Washington Globe. He begins to investigate the death of a young woman who was the research assistant and mistress of his friend Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), an ambitious congressman whose career is likely ruined when his affair is revealed. Joined by young political blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), Cal races against time and deadlines to solve the murder, which may be only a small part of a much larger crime.

Like ALL THE PRESIDENT?S MEN, STATE OF PLAY is a thought-provoking thriller that manages to be both timely and timeless. It reflects its 2009 release date with a plot that questions the validity and existence of newspapers in the face of bloggers and the 24-hour news cycle, as well as addressing the efforts of a Blackwater-like group working in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Macdonald?s film should also age remarkably well; Crowe?s Cal must reconcile his personal life with his professional one, and ethics lie at the heart of the movie. Crowe gives a get-noticed performance in the middle of a packed cast that also includes Affleck, McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jeff Daniels, and Robin Wright Penn. Jason Bateman steals scenes--and adds a bit of much-needed comic relief--in his small part in the film.

Features

Video Features DVD, English, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)

Technical Info


Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Universal
Video Release Date Release Date: 8/22/2010
Video Play Time Running Time: 128 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 2009
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 61104845
Video UPC UPC: 00025195040075
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks:
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Widescreen  2.35:1
Entertainment Reviews
Expert Review State of Play - DVD Review
By: Bill Gibron filmcritic.com DVD Reviews
Published on: 8/21/2009 2:42 PM
Big government getting in bed with corrupt private conglomerates. The fresh-faced Congressman hell-bent on bringing said scandal to light. The uncovered infidelity which threatens his power base, and the crumpled investigative journalist who must resolve his personal interest in the story with the legitimate needs of the press and his own corporate bosses. This should be the basis for a crackerjack thriller -- and it actually was when BBC scribe Paul Abbott crafted the six-episode series State of Play back in 2003. As with most successful foreign exports, Hollywood came calling, and now we have the big screen version starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, and Helen Mirren....read the full review

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Helen Mirren
Video Cast Info Ben Affleck
Video Cast Info Russell Crowe
Video Cast Info Rachel McAdams
Video Cast Info Robin Wright
Video Cast Info Jason Bateman
Video Cast Info Jeff Daniels
Video Cast Info Josh Mostel
Video Cast Info Michael Weston
Video Cast Info Barry Shabaka Henley
Video Cast Info Viola Davis
Video Cast Info E. Bennett Walsh - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Rodrigo Prieto - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Alex Heffes - Composer
Video Cast Info Paul Abbott - Executive Producer
Video Cast Info Tim Bevan - Producer
Video Cast Info Matthew Michael Carnahan - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Eric Fellner - Producer
Video Cast Info Tony Gilroy - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Billy Ray - Screenwriter
Video Cast Info Paul Abbott - Source Writer
Video Cast Info Andrew Hauptman - Producer
Video Cast Info Kevin MacDonald - Director

Professional Reviews

Movieline
?Take ALL THE PRESIDENT?S MEN, add liberal doses of potboiler melodrama and existential journalist angst, and you?ve got the foundation for STATE OF PLAY...? 04/13/2009

Variety
"[T]his efficient, admirably coherent thriller about reporters digging down to where politics and murder meet in Washington, D.C., has a wistful air about it..." 04/13/2009

Chicago Sun-Times
3 stars out of 5 -- "STATE OF PLAY is a smart, ingenious thriller set in the halls of Congress and the city room of a newspaper not unlike the Washington Post." 04/15/2009

USA Today
3 stars out of 4 -- "[A] well-crafted political thriller....Several high-caliber performances give the film its vibrancy, under the capable direction of Kevin Macdonald. Crowe is excellent, and Helen Mirren is superb..." 04/21/2009

Washington Post
"STATE OF PLAY features handsome production and terrific performances....Mirren has some especially choice moments..." 04/17/2009

A.V. Club
"Macdonald and his cast shepherd STATE OF PLAY through a number of surprising twists and turns..." -- Grade: B- 04/16/2009

Box Office
3 stars out of 5 -- "[Crowe delivers] a performance of grizzled credibility as a newspaper journalist....STATE OF PLAY is, more than a topical alarm bell, an efficient, pulsating exercise in thriller mechanics." 04/16/2009

Premiere
4 stars out of 4 -- "This is a smart script...[with] a wealth of twists..." 04/16/2009

Rolling Stone
3 stars out of 4 -- "It's juicy stuff, made juicier by the actors....STATE OF PLAY keeps the twists coming." 04/30/2009

Total Film
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] storming thriller....The fesity veteran/rookie relationship is made believable thanks to the actors' spot-on chemistry..." 10/01/2009

Entertainment Weekly
"Crowe is fantastic as a grizzled, old-school D.C. reporter....The story's twists and switchbacks keep coming." -- Grade: A- 09/04/2009

Uncut
4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's very successful, gripping from start to finish..." 04/17/2009

ReelViews 9 of 10
The three screenwriters (Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Billy Ray) credited with adapting Paul Abbott's mini-series into a motion picture have done something remarkable: reduce five hours of material into less than two hours and still produce something that is both coherent and engrossing. There's no question that State of Play feels a little rushed and the density of plot can be daunting, but the resulting tale unfolds with an urgency and sense of verisimilitude that will keep most viewers intrigued and involved without losing many along the way...State of Play's pedigree is unquestionable. The director, Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), is a rising luminary in both British and American cinema. Tony Gilroy, who has been writing screenplays since 1992's The Cutting Edge and has a string of recent thrillers to his credit (including Duplicity, which he also directed), is as close to a "can't miss" prospect as one is likely to find. The cast features several A-list actors, including the always interesting Russell Crowe and the always delightful Helen Mirren (wish she'd been in more scenes), in fine form. If there's an obvious downside to the overall endeavor, it's that the mini-series condensation leaves the motion picture feeling truncated - something even those unaware of the source material may sense, if only subconsciously. Nevertheless, in an environment where dumb thrillers are outperforming smart ones by wide margins, we can be thankful to have something on this level available, even if it is a remake. - James Berardinelli

Rolling Stone 8 of 10
You try slicing and dicing a six-hour corker of a 2003 British miniseries into a two-hour suspense drama set in Washington, D.C. It ain't easy. Maybe that's why Brad Pitt dropped out, and his Fight Club alter ego, Edward Norton, followed. Russell Crowe stepped in for Pitt as Cal McAffrey, the reporter torn between professional ethics and his friendship with Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck, in for Norton), a married congressman involved in a sex scandal. Maybe that's why director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) assigned three screenwriters -- Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray -- to whip Paul Abbott's original story into a new shape. Maybe that's why major characters were dumped (James McAvoy's brilliant take on a son of journalistic privilege is the biggest miss) or sex-changed (Bill Nighy's acid-tongued newspaper editor is now, marvelously, Helen Mirren) or morphed from reporter (Kelly Macdonald) into trendy, tabloid-bred blogger (Rachel McAdams...Crowe and Mirren duel like dinosaurs over the future of newspapers, if there is one. "Good reporters don't have friends, just sources," she tells him, knowing that the cheating-congressman story will sell more papers than government skulduggery. The days of All the President's Men are over. Headline hunting has made casualties of truth and trust. The movie reverbs with grief over the death of what once made newspapers essential. It's juicy stuff, made juicier by the actors, Jeff Daniels as a shadowy politico and a knockout Jason Bateman as a kinky PR guy getting roughed up, but not in the ways he'd prefer. Affleck may strike you as off-putting at first, hitting wrong emotional notes, but hang on. State of Play keeps the twists coming, - Peter Travers

Chicago Sun-Times 8 of 10
Here is Russell Crowe playing an ace investigative reporter for "The Washington Globe." All the cops and most of the people on Capitol Hill seem to know him; he's one of those instinctive newsmen who connects the dots so quickly that a 127-minute movie can be extracted from a six-hour BBC miniseries. This keeps him so occupied that he has little time for grooming, and doesn't seem to ever wash his lanky hair..."State of Play," directed by Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland"), is well-assembled and has some good performances. Crowe pulls off the Joaquin Phoenix look-alike; McAdams doesn't overplay her blogger's newbieness; Mirren convinced me she could be a newspaper editor. Wright Penn always finds the correct shadings. If Affleck, as he plays this role, were to have his face carved into Mt. Rushmore, people would ask which was the original...The thing is, though, that the movie never quite attains altitude. It has a great takeoff, levels nicely, and then seems to land on autopilot. Maybe it's the problem of resolving so much plot in a finite length of time, but it seems a little too facile toward the end. Questions are answered, relationships revealed and mysteries solved too smoothly. If a corporation like PointCorp could have its skullduggery exposed that easily, it wouldn't still be in business. - Roger Ebert

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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