State of Play

  • 12
  • Kevin Macdonald (2009)
  • US / Ger / UK / Fr / Jpn
  • 121 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Despite the flab, Russell Crowe proves he's definitely no slouch in this excellent conspiracy thriller based on the BBC TV mini-series. He brings a raw intensity to the role of slovenly Washington journalist Cal McAffrey, who smells a rat when a political aide employed by his old college pal and rising Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) turns up dead. The intricately woven plot sees McAffrey chasing down a high-ranking politician (an unusually sinister Jeff Daniels) and rankling his editor (a typically hard-nosed Helen Mirren). It's more overblown than All the President's Men, but as in that 1976 classic the real intrigue unfolds behind closed doors and in the brainstorming sessions between McAffrey and internet journalist Della Frye (Rachel McAdams). Director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) also adds tension to the story by examining how the digital revolution is threatening to make the more traditional methods of reporting obsolete.

Plot Summary

Crime thriller starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, based on Paul Abbott's award-winning television series. When congressman Stephen Collins breaks down at a press conference following the suspicious death of his researcher Sonia Baker, press speculation goes into overdrive. Reporter Cal McAffrey, assigned to the story because he is an old friend of Collins, soon uncovers a web of intrigue.

Cast and crew


Cal McAffrey
Russell Crowe
Stephen Collins
Ben Affleck
Della Frye
Rachel McAdams
Cameron Lynne
Helen Mirren
Anne Collins
Robin Wright
Dominic Foy
Jason Bateman
George Fergus
Jeff Daniels
Robert Bingham
Michael Berresse
Detective Bell
Harry Lennix
Greer Thornton
Wendy Makkena


Kevin Macdonald

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Violence, swearing.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 24 Apr 2009
Certificate 12