Box art for State of Play

State of Play

drama


Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren in the blistering thriller about deception, manipulation and corruption.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    84%
  • Audience Score
    73%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
Consumerism
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Mature, well-acted thriller mixes violence and politics.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Russell Crowe/Ben Affleck thriller is a mix of violence, political intrigue, and sexual innuendo -- all mature themes that are unlikely to appeal to young viewers. Characters steal, drink, smoke, and lie to the point where it's unclear who's the victim and who's the victimizer. There's some strong language (including a couple exclamations of "f--k"), drinking, and smoking as well. Sexuality is more discussed (including conversations about adultery and three-ways) than shown, except for some flirting between a couple of characters.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about the relationship between the media and politics. Do you think real-life politicians try to deceive the press -- and that real life reporters pretend and sometimes outright lie to get a scoop?
  • Teens: Do you and your friends rely more on the Internet than on print for news? Do you think newspapers are a sinking ship (as depicted in the movie)?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    84%
    reviews counted: 2
    see all State of Play reviews
  • Audience

    73%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: It's like a time bomb that's never dismantled but never explodes. The movie is good enough that the ending leaves you ... not angry, exactly. Unfulfilled.

- David Edelstein, New York Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: It's the kind of slick showstopper that's packed with enough twists, turns and deadly tension to lead the news any day of the week.

- Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

"You're just seeking the truth. You're a truth seeker. You can't help it, that is just who you are." A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress. REVIEW "State of Play," directed by Kevin Macdonald, is a smart, topical political thriller whose cast of characters includes a congressional aide who dies under mysterious circumstances; a scandal-plagued Capitol Hill legislator; a seasoned reporter for a mainstream newspaper; an unseasoned cub reporter for that same paper's on-line blog; and a Blackwater-type quasi-military organization that will seemingly stop at nothing, even murder, in its effort to privatize the War on Terror for power and profit. Ben Affleck is the congressman from Pennsylvania whose affair with the murdered woman threatens to bring to light some serious behind-the scenes skullduggery on the part of the company that is currently under investigation by Affleck's committee for alleged acts of brutality and terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russell Crowe is the journalist for the fictional "Washington Globe" who's investigating the case even though his lifelong friendship with both the congressman and the congressman's beautiful but long-suffering wife (Robin Penn Wright) may represent a major conflict-of-interest for the paper. Rachel McAdams is the wet-behind-the-ears blog reporter who joins Crowe in his investigation, and Helen Mirren is the no-nonsense editor-in-chief responsible for making sure that the two mutually antagonistic reporters work in tandem, rather than at cross purposes, in their effort to get the story. The script (based on a six-part British series) is complex but relatively easy to follow as it deftly twists and turns its way to its irony-drenched conclusion. As a sidebar, the movie examines how compromise has become the order of the day in journalism, now that an ever-dwindling number of "legitimate" newspapers are being forced to compete with sensationalistic tabloids and blogs for readership and revenue. A film for thinking adults.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Sunday, July 1, 2012

3 stars

"You're just seeking the truth. You're a truth seeker. You can't help it, that is just who you are." A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress. REVIEW "State of Play," directed by Kevin Macdonald, is a smart, topical political thriller whose cast of characters includes a congressional aide who dies under mysterious circumstances; a scandal-plagued Capitol Hill legislator; a seasoned reporter for a mainstream newspaper; an unseasoned cub reporter for that same paper's on-line blog; and a Blackwater-type quasi-military organization that will seemingly stop at nothing, even murder, in its effort to privatize the War on Terror for power and profit. Ben Affleck is the congressman from Pennsylvania whose affair with the murdered woman threatens to bring to light some serious behind-the scenes skullduggery on the part of the company that is currently under investigation by Affleck's committee for alleged acts of brutality and terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russell Crowe is the journalist for the fictional "Washington Globe" who's investigating the case even though his lifelong friendship with both the congressman and the congressman's beautiful but long-suffering wife (Robin Penn Wright) may represent a major conflict-of-interest for the paper. Rachel McAdams is the wet-behind-the-ears blog reporter who joins Crowe in his investigation, and Helen Mirren is the no-nonsense editor-in-chief responsible for making sure that the two mutually antagonistic reporters work in tandem, rather than at cross purposes, in their effort to get the story. The script (based on a six-part British series) is complex but relatively easy to follow as it deftly twists and turns its way to its irony-drenched conclusion. As a sidebar, the movie examines how compromise has become the order of the day in journalism, now that an ever-dwindling number of "legitimate" newspapers are being forced to compete with sensationalistic tabloids and blogs for readership and revenue. A film for thinking adults.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Sunday, July 1, 2012

1 star

In the heels of his effective Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void it comes to me as a surprise that this new film from british Kevin Macdonald is just a another cliched turn of the same old stuff that we are used to see in many other political-thrillers, like much better JFK or Jonathan Demme's wonderful re-imagining of The Manchurian Candidate. State of Play feels like it's been assembeld from the leftovers from the other paranoia filled thrillers and tries to hide that fact under a glossy surface. The feeling of "was this it?" cannot be escaped when the end credits start to roll. There is absolutely nothing why you should bother to see this film. Unfortunately usually good MacDonald cannot bring anything fresh or original to his take on his version of All the President's Men. Even the usually good Russel Crowe cannot save this one from sinking. I see State of Play as a badly missed opportunity.

- emilkakko, Sunday, June 24, 2012