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Review: State of Play

An investigative reporter, a Senate committee, and murder
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 22, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for State of Play

Support for print journalism is coming from an unexpected source: Russell Crowe. He's Cal McAffrey, the slovenly, irrepressible, incorruptible investigative reporter for the Washington Globe, and his factual, "on the record" copy stands in stark contrast to the ephemeral fluff ground out by his on-line colleague Della Frye (Rachel McAdams).

But the two must cooperate to get the story when Katy — a pretty researcher for the committee headed by Senator Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) that's looking into a Blackwater-like corporation — turns up dead. In addition to the crisis in journalism, Kevin McDonald's torpid melodrama thus also touches on the privatization of Homeland Security and the specter of Big Brother.

But these issues are just MacGuffins; the film's real concerns are a twisty plot and background hanky-panky. The future of journalism may be uncertain, but the state of political thrillers since All the President's Men is definitely in decline.

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