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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Movie Review: State of Play

Grrr arggg, Don't you hate it when you've challenged your cocky ass hole friend to an old fashioned, Race ya to the end of the block style dash off?
He's huffing and puffing and right out of the gate you've got this douche beat.
You start off with a burst of energy that this, criss-crossed cardigan over chest, dick-wad can't possibly keep up with.
I mean the guys a drinker, you drink too but this guy goes heavy on the Jagger bombs.
The end of the block is just within your grasp, you can feel it, taste it. step on it dance around and laugh at his face when you reach it.
but you didn't see that pebble coming, that pebble that snuck its way into your path just as you were reaching the finish line.
The one that causes you to embarrassingly tumble down, face first to the ground.
and allows professor douche-meister with the developing beer belly and sky blue cardigan dangling behind him in the wind to steal the lead and win the race.

such is the state of State of Play. the new political thriller from director Kevin Macdonald.
oh it starts off so well, with the perfect blend of spy thriller action and political intrigue.
recapping plots is always rather tedious.. and I think a disservice to viewers, I mean the fun part about watching a flick is having it unfold before your eyes.
So I will give you bare minimum
Russel Crowe plays a seasoned reporter at a Washington newspaper, headed by a balls to the wall editor in Helen Mirren.
She's got pressure from the big bosses to turn a profit with the paper.
Ben Affleck is an up and coming political poster boy senator who has set his sites on taking down a large defense company with shady dealings, after one of the senators aides turns up dead questions are asked, secrets are spilled and Crowe is given the task of unravelling the story for the paper, did we mention however that Crowe and Affleck's characters are old college buddies, thus placing Crowe in the difficult position of having to choose between his integrity as a reporter or as a friend.

Based upon a six part television series, that aired on the BBC, Screenwriters: Billy Ray, Tony Gilroy and Michael Matthew Carnahan, pull off the balancing act of a terse political thriller and character drama, ignoring the obvious age differences between Affleck and Crowe,the casting works.
Crowe as the staunch weathered old school reporter works, Robin wright Penn as the Senators wife caught in the middle works and even Rachel Mcadams doing her best Lois Lane as an on-line division reporter works here .
The director has written a sort of hallmark card to journalism, with its get the story by any means necessary inter cut clips of coffee fueled all nighters and Sources "butter upping" (not really a word)
it seemingly gets it all right. until those last 10 minutes.
in what may be the only bad play by the director, we are subjected to not one but "two" twist endings. the problem is that only one of them really works.
the first spin at the end delivers.
Its intense , plausible and satisfying.
Had the film just closed up shop at that point we would have had a solid story on our hands.
but nooo, it had to get greedy.
That pebble in the way of my almost victory lap is a massive fossil that sends the whole story toppling down to a scraped knee.
The "real" ending seems to forced, and the way the wheels work for one of the characters to "uncover" this other twist?, well I'm just not buying it.
the film is still worth checking out.. but try and leave when you first think its over.

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