State of Play Kevin MacDonald

State of Play Kevin MacDonald
Most of us, at one time or another, have sought out information on a subject of interest online only to stumble across a "news" story with hand drawn boobies on a picture of a celebrity and indecipherable text that, amongst other things, is uncertain of the difference between "your" and "you're." The problem is that rather than blocking the site after posting some links to community colleges in the comment fields, people tend passively to accept these illiterate and unreliable ramblings, encouraging others to similarly vomit all over the internet. State of Play tackles this subject rather aggressively, with old school journalist Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) showing plucky blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) the danger in blurting out any and all information, regardless of substantiation or repercussions, online in a messy first-person frenzy. This comes after Della starts tossing out fuzzy reports about Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), a politician whose extramarital affairs are revealed to the world when his assistant/sex poodle supposedly offs herself on a subway platform. Since Cal has a history with Collins and, more so, his wife Anne (Robin Wright Penn), he gets involved with the story, keeping Della in check while learning of a bigger plot to privatize National Security. As an adult political thriller, this socially motivated film delivers what the genre dictates in spades, featuring double-crosses and plot twists right up until the end. It's unfortunate that the biggest shocks are pretty darn obvious from the get go but performances and characterizations from both Crowe and McAdams easily make up for these narrative shortcomings. Also appealing is the inclusion of Helen Mirren as the sassy editor of The Washington Globe, aware of the increasingly shady nature of journalism but concerned with the demand for sales. Included with the DVD is a brief "Making of" supplement, which discusses the updates made from the 2003 BBC miniseries, along with casting and on-set dynamics. (Universal)