State of Play [PG-13]
Celebration Cinema North, Theatre #16, 3:45pm
When we first saw the trailer, they weren't trying to reveal too much and I wasn't paying much attention, other than saying "Oh, a scruffy looking Russell Crowe and lookee it's Helen Mirren -- we probably have to see this." I assumed it was a spy movie, especially after that Crowe and DiCaprio CIA movie, last year's Body of Lies. In fact, with the two titles this could've been a sequel. (grin) Then when State of Play was coming out, I caught a review in the paper and realized that no, not a spy flick. It's a newspaper story flick. And Helen Mirren is the tough editor. Oh cool -- gotta see this movie.
When we first meet Russell Crowe, he's careening around the streets of Washington, D.C. Don't know about the whole movie, but there's a whole lot of D.C. visible and not just Toronto or some other "cheaper" city standing in for the nation's capital. Playing on his old Saab's radio? "The Night Pat Murphy Died" and that had to be Great Big Sea -- a wonderful band of out St. John's, Newfoundland. It was. (grin) We now see Crowe in action as the crusty old Washington Post, er, Washington Globe reporter.
Ben Affleck plays a Congressman caught up in this mess. He and Crowe were college roommates. Robin Penn Wright plays his wife. It is all more complicated than we thought. Mrs. Dr. Phil commented that Ben tried to act in this film, almost showing an emotion. Reminds me of a quip I once heard about Keanu Reeves being able to stand in one film exceptionally well. (grin) Poor Ben.
Crowe's nemesis is Rachel McAdams, a blogger from the online side of the Washington Post, er, Washington Globe. He doesn't think much of her at first. I'll spill one thing -- they DON'T sleep together in this film, thank god. Woodward and Bernstein never slept together -- it was good enough for All The President's Men. Crowe's adversary is his boss, editor Helen Mirren, who yells at Crowe and of course caves, because he's the big star. His archenemy is the new owners of the Washington Post, er, Washington Globe, who are interested only in more copy sales regardless of journalistic content. I think the name of the new owners is The Red Herring Group. They are all up against this mercenary corporation Blackwater (cough), er, PointCorp with a big base in North Carolina who has lots of Iraq contracts.
It sounds like I'm making fun of this movie, but of course I always have a small objection everytime a photorealistic thriller makes a misstep. Actually we enjoyed the convoluted plot quite a bit, with one more twist than we thought we were going to get. And probably one less than we thought, too. Which altogether is not a bad thing.
We didn't stay through the whole credits, but the beginning of the credits shows one of my favorite movie shots -- the taking of a newspaper front page from design to plates to running the big presses. Of course, in my version of the movie, during the end credits we'd find out that The Red Herring Group is owned by Blackwater (cough), er, PointCorp and the big semi-trailer of newspapers bundles driving away from the printing plant would go right to a landfill. But that's just my overinventive twisted mind. (grin)