starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren
screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray, based on the BBC television series created by Paul Abbott
directed by Kevin Macdonald
by Ian Pugh If it were smart, Kevin Macdonald's State of Play would stick to lamenting the ignominious death of newsprint at the hands of Internet sensationalism and all that that implies. As a veteran reporter and a U.S. Congressman--college roommates once known as rabblerousing muckrakers in their respective fields--turn to each other when their worlds collapse, you'd think that maybe the film had in mind a meditation on the dissolution of the Old Boys' clubs. Done in by our demystifying familiarity with the subjects under scrutiny (cops and politicians) and an unwillingness to inject new blood into their veins, right? Hell, even Watergate is brought up as an incidental location, as Macdonald sends a sweeping camera across the notorious hotel. You can't tell me there isn't something to be said here about how a reliance on outmoded tactics and an obsession with decades-old victories has only sped up their obsolescence.