State of Play (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: A
I've never really been a big fan of the unraveling mystery involving politicians, corporations and wars, so if one is going to really grab my attention it's gotta be good. This one not only grabbed my attention but made me fall in love with it too. The stellar cast alone should grab the attention of most. We know about Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, but you also have Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Jeff Daniels, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman and several other seasoned character actors. Plus it has a screenplay co-written by Tony Gilroy who successfully executed the Bourne Trilogy, "Michael Clayton," and "Duplicity." So it's got the ingredients for a great recipe, but how does it all taste when it's put together? Delicious. It's one great twist after another and when you watch this, don't be a douchebag and try to predict the twists before they happen. Just enjoy the movie for what it is. Besides being a great crime caper, it also appealed to me for showing us a world of a dying industry: newspaper. Hell, investigative reporting too for that matter. Crowe plays the sloppy, cliche journalist who still writes real stories for real newspapers and McAdams plays the young, hip blogger who writes quasi-news stories with lots of opinion. It's the collision of the old world and (sadly) the new world, and unknown director Kevin Macdonald lets you know which world he thinks is better (and I agree). It also throws you into a very real world story that mirrors Halliburton and their profiting off of The Iraq War, but tells it with fictional characters and companies. It's all very facinating, fun and exhausting.