Note 1: I realize I have been writing about movies for more than two weeks, but I kinda like it, so I think I will soldier on for a little while, until it bores me or until someone screams at me to stop, as in “Dear GOD, if I have to read one more movie review from that silly girl I’ll kill myself!”
Note 2: I often get comments from my peeps, and I always reply, but I am not sure y’all know that. When you leave a comment, you have to click something like “send me an email with follow-up comments” to get any reply I leave. Otherwise, you’ve got to go back to the original post and scroll to the bottom for comments.
Okay, on with the review…
Jordan and I watched State of Play this past weekend. It’s got Ben Affleck as a politician who’s aide (and mistress, come to find out) “commits suicide”, read: is pushed off the platform into an oncoming subway train. Russell Crowe, his old college roommate and friend (who slept with Affleck wife, Robin Wright Penn, at some point in the past) is a reporter who starts to help a new reporter, Rachel McAdams, get the real story. He eventually gets more involved and ends up taking over, all the while fending off advances from Affleck’s wife.
Let me stop here. You are married to smooth talking, wealthy, handsome with a suit on (or without said suit on, I’d imagine) Ben Affleck, and you are throwing yourself at sort of sleazy, a little pudgy, long-haired, un-shaven Russell Crowe because why?
Anyway… The aide is murdered. The reporters start snooping around and find out the two other murders in the area were tied to this girl. Then more people get murdered, you think some others are gonna get murdered but don’t… It got a little confusing. It was over two hours long and did seem to drag out a bit. There wasn’t really any fast-paced action, though I did enjoy a scene where Crowe is being stocked by the bad guy in a parking garage. In movies, bad things always happen in parking garages; case in point – Skyline. The aliens kill the guy from Scrubs in a parking garage, not to mention reek havoc on other people there.
In the end, it seems this big company that Affleck is trying to take down (because they are essentially trying to own/privatize homeland security (a congressman played by Jeff Daniels is involved) sent the aide in as a spy. You think she was killed because she eventually fell in love with Affleck and stopped providing information on him to this company, so they had her whacked, but just as soon as the big story is about to be published in the paper, they throw in the twist.
Crowe remembers a comment the wife made (and I am still not sure why it mattered that SHE knew this tidbit of info) which leads him to believe that Affleck knew why she was really murdered/who killed her. How he drew this inference I am still a little confused on. If I had a pen and paper handy while watching this movie, I would have made a “tree of information” with lines connecting the people who gave the info and the people it was about.
So he goes to confront Affleck (though you aren’t sure why yet) just as we see Affleck walking into his office building alone, and the bad guy suiting up in camo with a big gun. I think we were supposed to think that the guy was going after Affleck, judging by the phone call to “a Congressman” (we assumed Daniels) in which he asked if he wanted him to “finish the job”. In hindsight, it turns out he may have been talking to Affleck instead, since he was really going to kill Crowe after he confronts Affleck. (Luckily the cops show up, bullets fly, Crowe hits the ground and the bad guy is taken out.)
When Crowe sees an old picture of Affleck in the army with the bad guy, it dawns on him that they had a precious connection. It turns out that the bad guy (the guy in the photo) has been running around killing people for Affleck to protect him, because Affleck had saved his life in battle and he felt he had to continually do the same. Affleck knew she was murdered, knew who did it and did nothing. To me, it seems this fact punches a lot of wholes in the story/movie. It’s one of those I’d have to watch again knowing what I now know, but I don’t want to spend another 2 hours doing so, just to ease my movie-watching mind. Such as, did the wife know and not say anything?
Both men were claiming to be each other’s friend, and to be helping the other, but it turns out they were both just using each other. Crowe wanted the story of the century and Affleck wanted to pin her murder on the company he was trying to bring down. Too bad he gets arrested.
The movie ends with Crowe typing up the story and putting the McAdams name on it in addition to his, which was nice. He tells her to hit “send”; they had been holding up the printing of the paper all night and had to get to press. The credits roll as we see the paper being printed, from beginning to end, which was kind of cool. I was hoping for a bit more, but it was okay.
All actors were good, including Helen Mirren, who played the newspaper’s editor. Jason Bateman was also in it, as this hot-shot playboy who helped set up the aide for the spying gig, which what quite different from his usually dry humor funny-man schtick. Crowe flipping his long hair off of his shoulder or face did erk me. I have never found him particularly attractive, but he was much closer with the muscled Gladiator body and cropped hair. No long haired, pudgey Russell Crowe can compete with that.
In the end, it was entertaining, but confusing, a little long, but the privatization of homeland security was an interesting element. Plus, Ben Affleck is always a welcome addition. Now I know he has made a few mistakes along the way… almost marrying J-Lo (remember Bennifer?), doing Gigli, and perhaps DareDevil (?) but he has more than redeemed himself by saving the world from an asteroid (I still cry when I see even just five minutes of Armageddon), showing us a real life of crime where you can’t help but root for the bad guy (The Town) and married Jennifer Garner and produced two cute kiddos. Plus, he stays out of trouble and the public eye (which I find refreshing) and he’s best pals with Matt Damon, and that can’t hurt a guy’s reputation. Jason Bourne is always an asset on your resume, in my opinion.
Until next time…