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25 April 2009

Speaking of Movies...

...and speaking of actors I used to fancy when I was 14, I went to see State of Play today, which I really enjoyed notwithstanding poor old Ben Affleck's "acting." (This from the guy who made me cry during Armageddon so touched was I with his "bravery" and the way he proposed to Liv Tyler using animal crackers; not to mention the way he sung the most off-key rendition of Leaving on a Jetplane I've ever heard--including my own.) I used to loathe Russell Crowe but now I find myself strangely drawn to him (I didn't even recognise him in Body of Lies until I saw the credits and indeed, he said himself that the grey hair and extra weight his character required made him look like his dad), although I suspect I will probably give Nottingham / Robin Hood / Whatever It's Called This week a miss.

Not having seen the TV series on which State of Play is based probably predisposes me to liking it more than I would otherwise have done but in any case, it was an engaging enough romp of a thriller--after Duplicity,  it was a relief that it was a pretty straight thriller with plenty of tension and just the right number of twists, because I would have walked out if it had been as camp as Duplicity. There are bad people and good people and people who appear to change sides or to have been on the other side all along. They're all interconnected and so even though Russell Crowe doesn't get it on with the gorgeous Rachel McAdams (who looked minute standing next to him), he does have some back-story with the wife of his former college roommate (Affleck), who is the congressman at the centre of the whole plot when his foxy, red-haired mistress dies mysteriously on the subway. I liked Robin Wright Penn in Breaking and Entering, where she also played the spurned wife but in State of Play, she hardly has a blemish-free past herself, which is more interesting. 

I also liked the tentative forays into the now ubiquitous are-blogs-killing-the-newspapers debate, although to some extent, this was only really a way of contriving the tension between Russel Crowe's old-school, investigative journalist who knows everyone in town (especially the cops) and Rachel McAdams's young, somewhat naive reporter who writes the newspaper's Capitol Hill blog. They could just have easily have made her a young reporter on the print edition as Crowe's character could still have been initially just as dismissive, but this way was more interesting (and probably realistic) as he teaches her not to blow her wad by posting little titbits of a story based on rumours and hearsay rather than waiting until she has enough facts to hit it big with something huge.

I will, of course, now have to acquire the original TV show so that I can honestly tear the film to bits and say how it has been butchered in its transition from a six-hour TV series into a two-hour film but I do like a good thriller and this was indeed a good thriller. 


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