State of Play (2009)

A note to movie-makers: only go over 2 hours if your movie is based on a novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Otherwise, you’re probably going to lose my interest.

Case in point – State of Play.  What could have been an edge-of-your-seat, political thriller/murder mystery instead turned into a yes-I-figured-most-of-this-out-30 minutes ago. 

The basic story: Ben Affleck plays Senator Collins who is the lead in an investigation into the private group hired by the government.  Oddly enough, the head researcher from his group is killed.  The media tries to smear Sen. Collins when he reacts to this news with tears, saying he must have been in love with her.  Russell Crowe plays Sen. Collins old college roommate (really? Crowe and Affleck are supposed to be the same age??).  Anyway, since they were BFFs, he tries to help Collins clear his name, but since he’s a journalist, he goes around the police (headed by Echo’s handler from Dollhouse).  But who was really behind the murder and why??? oooh that’s the twisted tale!

Okay, okay – nice things first.  It appears they actually shot the movie in D.C.!  And guess what – you can’t see the Capitol/Washington Monument/Lincoln Memorial from every window (I’m looking at you, Die Hard 4).  I was also VERY grateful that they did not force a romantic relationship between Rachael McAdams and Russell Crowe.  I also liked the “making the newspaper” montage – but then again, I love montages.

The movie starts out strong, setting you up with 3 murders, slowly giving us the clues to put it all together…and then for some reason it decides to tread water.  There is a intense sequence in a underground garage and then instead of using that momentum to take us to the end of the film, we get stuck with another 45 minutes of plodding. 

When I saw it was based on a BBC Miniseries, I should have known that a movie based on a miniSERIES was going to be too long. 

The actors all did a great job, the downfall of this movie was the editing.  Too much downtime, and after what should have been the climactic scene, things do not movie quickly enough to wrap up the movie.  By that point, the audience is over it. 

2.5 out of 5 stars

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