Friday, 8 May 2009

State of Play

Do I love subtle sophisticated intelligent political thrillers involving a well-played protagonist trying to fight the system and expose the truth? You know I do. And if you add a decent level of characterization, an intriguing script in which Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Duplicity) was involved in the writing, the sure direction of Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland), a wonderful gritty film-nourish atmosphere, an excellent score, and some great acting by most (Ben Affleck should stick to writing/directing) of the cast (including Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jeff Daniels and Robin Wright Penn), you surely must have a winner.

Yes, indeed, State of Play had all the makings for being one of the best films of the year. The failure of the ending to deliver the goods therefore comes as a very bitter disappointment. The ending is so important to me (and, I assume, to most people) and if it doesn’t work, the whole movie can die. Maybe it’s because there were three writers and Gilroy should have done it by himself. Or maybe he was the one responsible and everyone thought he would know best. Whatever, the ending did not satisfy me at all and I am tempted to demote the film to an average three stars.

But I loved the atmosphere, I loved the controlled use of action, I loved the suspense and I loved the interaction between Crowe, McAdams and Mirren so much that I must give State of Play ***+ for effort and set my anger aside. My mug is up but there are some bitter dregs near the bottom.

1 comment:

  1. It feels like it's been so long since I really liked a movie - especially a thriller. Like you said: all the basic ingredients worked together very well. Russell Crowe, in particular, was perfect in the role. Lots of nuances, shaky cam was held in check, interesting subplots that were played well - a really great movie. I agree the end was a disappointment, but by the end I was in love with the movie and was willing to go along with it. [SPOILER WARNING]I think the ending could have even been made to work if they had just thought it through and sold it better. In fact, there was something about the disappointment of Pointcorp not being the main bad guy that added a complexity I liked. So - a little disappointed, but after two great hours I have to give it **** so this one's two mugs up.