Affirming our ‘State of Play’

Amanda Marie Alvarado

A great thriller elicits more than just emotional tension ‘- a combination of fear and excitement. The best of the genre thrust their story upon the viewer like a sick type of psycho-therapy, confronting that person in the dark with his most cynical nightmares. The immortal film stands the test of time, haunting the viewer days, months and years after the screening – whether it be a political, supernatural, psychological, spy or crime thriller.

‘State of Play,’ an exceptional crime/political thriller, draws its dramatic power by manipulating two of our major concerns today: the ongoing war and corporate corruption. Thus, the film provides edge-of-your-seat entertainment, while providing a venue for our suspicions and irritations with current social issues. No one seems to understand this dynamic between the viewer’s experience and the film more than co-writer Tony Gilroy. The sustainability of ‘State of Play’s’ recent success remains to be seen, but Tony Gilroy is quickly becoming immortal within the genre.

Collaborating with writer Matthew Michael Carnahan and director Kevin Macdonald, Tony Gilroy delivers what he does best, emotionally empathetic characters in politically-charged dilemmas with socially crucial goals. There is a reason why most of Hollywood’s talent wants to work with Gilroy ‘- he’s a damn good writer. ‘State of Play’ supports this statement with a forceful script and superb acting. Russell Crowe returns to the screen in a part worthy of his aptitude as Cal McAffrey, a journalist, truth-seeker for the Washington Globe.

Also notable are the performances given by Rachel McAdams as rookie reporter Della Frye and cut-throat editor Helen Mirren. However, the film truly hinges on the execution of character Stephen Collins and the surprisingly wonderful casting of Ben Affleck. If any role was meant to resurrect Affleck’s three-year slumber from the spotlight, it was not ‘He’s Just Not That Into You,’ but more suitably Carnahan – a likable, philandering politician with high ideals. Originally cast with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, both of which would have suffocated the script with their overwhelming personas. Crowe/Affleck chemistry privileges and enhances the integrity of story.

If you’re a thriller, truth-seeking Gilroy fan in search of a fantastic cinematic experience, this movie is definitely for you.