Edge

‘State of Play’ a thrilling, complex look at politics

No film cut from its original six hours to two can be as good as the source material, and that is simply the problem of State of Play. While it is a worthy film and likely one of the best of the year thus far, it pales in comparison to the 2003 British miniseries on which it is based.

While not exactly a known entity in the United States, the six-hour-long miniseries is almost mythical on the other side of the Atlantic. A searing look at how politics and journalism intersect, the original was a complex, dazzling thriller that was completely captivating.

As a result, the American remake, starring Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck, feels a little superficial. Its truncated running time makes it impossible to really delve into the machinations of its characters. Though it is certainly compelling, and director Kevin Macdonald’s decision to adapt the screenplay to include a Blackwater-esque defense firm was wise, State of Play feels rushed. As soon as one devotes the time and energy to caring about its characters, the film is almost over.

The story remains essentially the same – a congressional researcher dies mysteriously, and two journalists explore her connections to a nefarious firm investigated by her boss – but many subplots were cut in favor of running time. Understandable, yes, but a little misguided. The best parts of the film are, shockingly, the actors in bit parts: Jeff Daniels as a congressional leader, Jason Bateman as a public relations agent and David Harbour as a corporate informant all fare far better than the leads. Perhaps most disappointingly, Helen Mirren is absolutely wasted in her role as a newspaper editor.

State of Play treats journalism with far more reverence than the industry has received in recent years. In the film, journalists are dogged heroes who pursue the truth relentlessly, and for that alone, the film is worth seeing. For those without prior knowledge of the original, State of Play is absolutely thrilling. For those with extra time or piqued interest, the original is certainly preferable.

Rating: 3/4 stars

April 19, 2009

Reporters

Sarah B. Pilchick

Senior EDGE Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Either the Miami Hurricanes get a collective adrenaline rush from heart-palpitating fourth quarters, ...

View photos from the Syracuse at Miami game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami G ...

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: Time again for the latest installment of the Canesfan Satisfaction ...

Syracuse student writer Matthew Gutierrez of The Daily Orange asked me to answer some of his questio ...

After this past University of Miami football game, coach Mark Richt said the crowd came alive during ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

Syracuse visits Miami on Saturday, October 21st at Hard Rock Stadium. ...

Thirty years ago, the 1987 Hurricanes achieved perfection. This weekend they are back where it all b ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

Behind a historic performance from senior Olga Strantzali, the University of Miami volleyball team b ...

The Miami women's tennis team opened play Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Pr ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.