State of Play (2009) Review

Stephen Collins is a member of congress and when one of his aides is killed an investigation begins to take place, especially when it is revealed he was having an affair with her. Cal McAffrey is the Washington journalist who works on the case with Collins just happening to be an old college friend.


Cal McAffrey was not working alone though young journalist Della Frye was very passionate about this investigation and pretty much has to fight with her older colleague to be kept involved and in the loop. This working relationship was one of the highlights of the story as he grows and trusts her and they work together in a very good manner. Cameron Lynne is the editor of paper that they both work for and constantly demands them to do more to uncover the real story. Della Frye had mainly been working for the blog and online news section while Cal still wanted everything to be on a printed story.

I am not going to delve any deeper into the plot as it has many twists and turns which would totally spoil the film. Although given that I have now seen quite a few films about investigative journalists I find myself consumed by them, All the President’s Men and Spotlight being the first I could think about. State of Play fits very nicely into that same mould of how important it can be to find this big breaking story away from the lies and speculation.

The tension and suspense that is built up from start to finish moves at the perfect pace. We find information out at the same time as McAffrey and Frye which makes you really feel like part of the investigation team. It also raises the issues of just trusting a congressman because of the position he is in we have no reason to doubt anything Stephen Collins says about the situation. Although when we find out about McAffrey’s affair with his wife Anne that should make us think twice? Although given the woman he was having an affair with was killed and made to look like a suicide his double standards with that are shown. Then throw in another congressman George Fergus just to really get us thinking!

The performances were a particular highlight and I guess with this amazing cast that was the least you should expect from the film. Russell Crowe is a brilliant leading man and I felt as though he so effortlessly gives us a very interesting character. Working very well alongside Rachel McAdams who is so much more than the rom-coms that she has since been more linked to, this showed that she was not going to be just one genre. Still hopefully that she will get some interesting roles on par with this one, which feels like it was a practice run for Spotlight! Ben Affleck had the smarmy politician feel down very well. Then Helen Mirren was just a complete scene stealer with plenty of swearing going on as well which managed to add a little bit of humour at times. I had no idea Jason Bateman was even in the film and to see him in a rather serious role was quite the change! Then Jeff Daniels was just downright evil!

I will certainly say that I am pleased to have caught up with this film which checking back on my blog posts from 2009 I was rather interested in considering I tweeted a preview of the poster and then that the film was top of the UK box office. So almost 12 years after its release I have eventually seen it!

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