Saturday, May 30, 2009

[review] State of Play

Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren together isn't a guarantee, but at least a sure bet that the movie will be good.

Faithful to its source material, maybe not. I'm assured that the BBC TV series is better. Though, with 6 hours, they no doubt could make a better plot development. And, no doubt, switching it from White Hall to Capitol Hill might involve some cultural modifications beyond calling someone Congressman vs. whatever it is the English call their MPs.

The plot seems to be the over-used Congressman Screwing Assistant Who Gets Murdered Is It A Cover Up And If So, Why? Well, yes it is. But not in quite the same way. Journalist McAffery (Crowe) is an old college buddy of Congressman Collins' (Affleck). Sex is questionable: Was McAffery sleeping with Collins' wife? Was Collins actually sleeping with his Assistant? Was she actually murdered? Did he do it?

This plays across the background of Collins' heading the Committee on Stuff Involving Defense Contractor Calumny (read: fraud). McAffery's boss is pushing for copy with the dwindling sales. As if no other paper in the country has the same problem. McAffery has pieces of the story and keeps hanging back to get the whole thing, rather than print it piecemeal for most effective sales. Will his editor (Mirren) pull the plug on his plans (read: career) to satisfy the Powers that Be? How will McAffery cope with the new cub reporter who's on the Blog Beat, rather than the street?

I found it satisfactorily suspenseful. Despite the fact we find out -in a pleasantly refreshing manner - whether there was congressional hanky-panky going on, it's not as though no one else is being just a bit unfaithful. Who in the world would want to be a politician's wife? The eventual revelation of just who was in whose pocket/pants was nicely twisted.

I wish I could say the hypothesis of the privitization of American "homeland security" is ludicrous. I wish.

definitely watch it on video.
I expect that I will subsequently recommend seeing the BBC show concurrently.


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