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Riveting State of Play

Published April 17, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
State of Play State of Play
Oh, handheld shaky running. You know how I love you. Any time a movie opens up that way, it's gotta be good. Yeah, State of Play is one of those movies where they hold the camera shakily while people talk to make it feel more intense. Shooting two guys in the street isn't that shocking of an opener, but I suppose it should be and I'm just a desensitized bastard.

Review: State of Play


This is a mystery about uncovering facts and following clues. They explain it all to us along the way, which didn't bother me. It's not very eloquent, it's just direct dialogue, which isn't realistic either, but it's compelling enough if not totally riveting. We don't need the social musings on the media because this case doesn't really reflect on anything greater than this case, but let 'em have their fun.

This is how real journalists work. It's not All the President's Men because it's made up, yet trying to be current and topical. It's just a constructed plot though, not real events with profound impact on society. I won't go back and revisit this but it gets you through two hours.



There's standard tension with big sounds and buildup. It's all constructed correctly, but I'm not really in suspense. So what if some sources die? A reporter's in danger? Eh. A politician's crusade is threatened? There's no passion or excitement to the investigators, as there were with the reporter characters recently in Resurrecting the Champ and Nothing But the Truth. It's kind of just High Crimes with better actors.

The actors are giving it their all and they're really good, but it's still constructed to be "powerful."

It would be funny if the surprise ending was that the newspaper just folded so the reporters had to abandon the case. I mean, someone still has to pay for their efforts. Exposing conspiracy and defending the public interest isn't free.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures
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