In the movies and on TV, investigations always look so exciting and fun — piecing together the facts, swapping clues, untangling the web strand by strand, etc.
In the movies and on TV, investigations always look so exciting and fun — piecing together the facts, swapping clues, untangling the web strand by strand, etc. In a story centered around journalism, this mystery-solving stuff is what makes it fun to watch, especially if there's also a good dose of realism but not so much that it becomes mired in realistic details and we get bored. State of Play very nicely balances these things: It's a sensational murder mystery-thriller but with a scruffy, grumpy journalist lead character and a supporting cast of equally "normal" people. There's enough fiction and embellishment to be escapism, and enough reality to make it believable.
Russell Crowe plays grizzled journalist Cal McAffrey who is something of a legendary dinosaur at the struggling Washington Globe newspaper. His longtime friend, Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), comes under scrutiny when a woman from his research team dies tragically and the public learns that Collins was having an affair with her. As the police conduct their own investigation, Cal himself tries to get to the bottom of the woman's mysterious death — partially to get a juicy story and partially to help clear his friend's name in the scandalous situation. The young, eager blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) insists on teaming up with Cal on his search as she tries to prove herself as a writer at the Globe. Together they work to uncover the truth, but every new revelation brings with it a twisty new discovery and soon the two journalists find themselves enmeshed in a nasty mixture of political conspiracies and tangled personal relationships. That's all I'll say about the plot, but for more of my thoughts on it all, read more