Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who serves as the chairman of a committee overseeing defense spending. All eyes are upon the rising star to be his party's contender for the upcoming presidential race. Until his research assistant/mistress is brutally murdered and buried secrets come tumbling out. McAffrey has the dubious fortune of both an old friendship with Collins and a ruthless editor, Cameron, who has assigned him to investigate. As he and partner Della try to uncover the killer's identity, McAffrey steps into a cover-up that threatens to shake the nation's power structures. And in a town of spin-doctors and wealthy politicos, he will discover one truth: when billions are at stake, no one's integrity, love or life is ever safe. (Universal Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Rob Calvert
    This is a smart script. There is a wealth of twists, but none of them have to beat you over the head.
  2. Reviewed by: Jason Buchanan
    A rare treat for cinema lovers starved for the days when scruffy newspaper reporters fearlessly sniffed out corruption, State of Play delivers the kind of conspiratorial thrills that would have made Pakula proud.
  3. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Once you get over the unlikelihood of Affleck and Crowe as buddies, State Of Play stands as a sterling thriller, benefiting from admirable convictions and an arguable return to form by Russell Crowe.
  4. The result is a paper-thin alliance between the old-school Cal and the new-media Della. Crowe, husky and whisky-voiced, is warm amidst all the plot mechanics, and McAdams, perky and efficient, is a smart foil for him.
  5. 67
    Though solidly plotted and executed all around, the film, too, feels like a quaint relic from another era, aping the form of journalistic thrillers like "All The President’s Men" while missing much of their urgency.
  6. 60
    Crowe has an animal quickness and sensitivity, a threatening way of penetrating what someone is up to, a feeling for weakness in friends as well as opponents. He seems every inch a great journalist; it's not his fault that the filmmakers let the big story slip through their fingers.
  7. 0
    State of Play is bordered by the states of absurdity and cliché.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. CRL
    Jul 26, 2011
    This movie is exceptional, and even with its crazy twists it manages to entertain and mystify for its entire running time. The characters are amazingly acted, and most of them knock 'real' straight out of the ballpark, while Russell Crowe delivers an Oscar-worthy performance. Well-written and executed on all fronts, State of Play is a movie I will definitely come back to time and time again. Expand
  2. ChrisC
    Apr 19, 2009
    This film is based upon an intriguing story, it has a fascinating script, and some great acting performances. It is Ben Affleck's standout performance of his career, and one which shows he has finally stepped out of the whole 'Bennifer' & Gigi shadow. The more investigation is done by Russell Crowes character the deeper the mystery gets. The twists are amazing, but are nicely understated. 9/10 from me. I notice some of the weaker critics reviews are carried out by the bloggers that the film does have a sly dig at, by hinting, and then showing how they are not real journalists. Expand
  3. Mar 22, 2011
    Sensational film based upon the BBC series of the same name. Russell Crowe is magnificent as journalist Cal McCaffrey while Ben Affleck is convincing as congressman Stephen Collins. The supporting cast are incredible also with Helen Mirren as a ruthless head editor and Rachel McAdams as rookie, up and coming Della Frye. State of Play focuses upon Stephen Collins (Affleck) a rising star of his political party until his lead researcher Sonya Baker is murdered. Her death leads to lies, conspiracies and secrets spilling out. Investigative journalist Cal McCaffrey is old friends with Collins and is handed the story by his ruthless editor Cameron (Helen Mirren) Cal and his partner Della find themselves involved in a cover-up that threatens to shake up America's power structure. They soon discover that with billions of dollars at state no ones life is ever safe. A very well written script by Billy Ray, directed brilliantly by Kevin McDonald State of Play is a political thriller you simply cannot afford to miss! Collapse
  4. ChadS
    Apr 21, 2009
    To underline the increasing irrelevance of the newspaper in our everyday lives, the filmmaker shrewdly undercuts Cal McAffrey's bloated sense of self-worth with editing choices which democratizes the working relationship that the seasoned reporter has with "His Online Girl Friday". In another era, when newspapers were thriving, this subdued scene would have been much ado about something. As Cal(Russell Crowe) pulls Della Frye(Rachel McAdams) out of a meeting, her online colleagues give her only a cursory look and continue forward with their conversations without the slightest notion of envy visible on their faces. By the standards of the past, Della, a blogger(an intern of sorts), is a proper journalist now, but as the cub reporter speaks to her experienced mentor, nobody behind the glassed-in conference room looks all that impressed. A lot has changed in the fifteen years since Ron Howard's "The Paper" was released into theaters. "State of Play" is a love letter to the newspaper industry, but if you read between the lines, it reads like a "Dear John" letter. Case and point: a veteran writer such as Cal, in all likelihood, would be hesitant to share his byline with a rookie, but "State of Play" has cheating on its mind. While it sings the praises of old school journalism, the film privileges the enemy, the blogger, by giving her more credit than she deserves. Cal doesn't give Della co-authorship on his article, "State of Play" does. Finally, when Cal leaves the newsroom, his triumphant walk pass the cubicles is spoiled, as Della hogs some of his spotlight, symbolically denying hard news journalists like Cal and his ilk, a graceful bow from the public sector. Expand
  5. ManusA
    Oct 3, 2009
    This was an intriguing political thriller. It's not the Oscar contender it could have been, but still worth seeing. Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, and Rachel McAdams were the key navigators of the plot, and sometimes steal scenes from Mirren and Crowe, who are good as always. Affleck had a weird approach to his character, but is still believable. The twist was intelligent but the movie didn't build enough suspense to reach that twist effectively. This has a marvelous backstory which I want to give away but won't, and is also an example of cliches well-executed and excellent. That said, it could have used some more originality. Without the performances of Penn, Bateman, and McAdams, this probably would have gotten a 6. Expand
  6. Jul 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A good plot, even though not exactly original, with enough twists and turns to keep you watching without making your head spin. Based on a 5 hour BBC mini-series of the same name, and obviously having to omit a lot to condense into a film, you do not feel like there are unexplained aspects to the story by the end of it.
    Kudos to all the actors involved. Crowe carries the film a last minute replacement for Pitt, you get the feeling that this would have been an entirely different film if Pitt were involved. Crowe is excellent as the scruffy, truth-seeking newspaper journalist. McAdams puts on a good performance as the young, talented, somewhat naive and yet ballsy, eager-to-learn newspaper blogger. Mirren is, as always, a treat to watch. Bateman's performance as a bisexual, sleazy "P.R" man is amazing. Why, even Afflect, as congressman Collins, is surprisingly good in this film! I've heard various comments about his performance here, but honestly this was a difficult role to play (many emotional aspects) and he delivered.
    The pace of the movie was just right, up to the last minute, where the climatic ending you were probably waiting for never comes, and everything wraps up in a rather anti-climatic way. Still, Crowe typing away as the whole newsroom peer over his head, seems like a befitting ending. The truth has been told. Now it's up to the public to read about, in what appears to be the dying age of the newspaper.
  7. LennyM.
    Sep 4, 2009
    Not a good movie, the story was ok, but the acting was horriable. Russell crowe and bEn should never ever ever do a movie again.

See all 37 User Reviews