State of Play was released on DVD on September 1st, 2009. The movie is star studded with the likes of Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman, and Jeff Daniels. With it’s twisting plot and the big name actors, none of that interests me as much as its social commentary involving today’s newspaper industry.
The movie takes place in modern time with Russel Crow, the main character, playing a writer for Washington Post. His character is know by everyone, from the workers at the a local fast food establishment to a high level detective, simply as Cal. His friendships with everyone he interacts with in his day to day life on the streets and in the community, are the means by which he gets to the truth of his story. It causes everyone in his life to question if they are really friends or are they just one more resource for his next assignment.
In a time when printed newspapers are trying keep up with the dynamic of the every changing media industry, the movie sheds light an why such scandals and top priority for front page stories. The movie asks the question, “At what point does making money to keep the business running, take precedence over, sticking to the fact?” When it comes to selling the papers, what are more people willing to shell out their cash for; reading about a sex scandal, or reading about a proposal for improving the community. Ben Affleck plays a Senator who has just found himself on the front page of every newspaper, as the flavor of the week, for his involvement in extra-martial affairs. He is exposed after his public reaction to the, “assumed” suicide of the women he was having an affair. As the story unfolds Cal and Della, Rachel McAdam’s character, discover more lies then truths, as they try and get to the solid facts of the story. Meanwhile the head of the newspaper is feeling the ominous pressures of just covering it‘s cost, and feels compelled to print what sells over what is the truth, in order for the business to just stay afloat.
It’s the type of story that makes you cringe as you learn about high level government corruption ,that feels all too likely. It makes you shutter to think about the evil that’s possible when organized on such a high level. It becomes uncomfortable to realize that any human, when given power, might find immoral ways to serve their own personal needs. There is relief, however, when Jeff Daniels makes an appearance as a corrupt government official and you think to yourself, “dude that’s the guy from Dumb and Dumber!” Ahh yes! For moments of the movie you can escape the theme of a corrupt government and feel moments of solace as you recall scenes from dumb and dumber when Jeff Daniels character gave such classic lines as, “You know Llyod just when I think you couldn’t possible be any dumber you go and do something like this……and totally redeem yourself .“
Overall I liked the movie. The acting was okay and it kept my attention long enough. When you do start to loss interest you feel as if you’ve committed watching it long enough that you might as well stick with it until the end. If anything it brings to light some poignant ideas to think and talk about involving today’s society.