If you’ve ever been to the Redbox machine, you know that 90 percent of the movies are absolutely silly. The Day the Earth Stopped is one of my favorites, even though I haven’t seen it. Mind you, this is not the same as The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves.
So even though I approach that little red pot at the end of the rainbow with little expectation of satisfying entertainment, every once in awhile something surprises me, like State of Play.
Not all of the surprises in State of Play were totally satisfying, however. The story itself was great. I was really thinking through the entire the film, trying to figure out the exact ending, which I don’t think I ever actually got until I saw it happen. The twists and turns were executed wonderfully. The cuts and transitions were very unique and created the perfect environment for the intent of the film. You know when you’re watching a movie and a scene is shot in such a way that you know somebody’s about to get shot? Every scene in this movie feels that way, even when Cal (Russell Crowe) is chilling in his apartment or in a room with no windows. There’s no reason for anything to happen, but the editing and shot selection lead you to that suspense.
Crowe did a find job as our lead character, a dedicated and seasoned reporter. He’s a strange looking man, but I think that was the point. I think anyone could have done this role just as well, but it didn’t hurt to have a leading male with a better reputation than Ben Affleck.
Affleck did well for the most part. I laughed out loud during one of the most intense sequences of dialog between him and Crowe. Affleck was screaming at him and I just couldn’t figure out how to take him seriously. That was by far the weakest point of the movie. Rachel McAdams is really attractive and really good at acting. Good for her. And Helen Mirren is a feisty British gem with an enormous resume. She’s very good at being seriously funny.
As previously mentioned, the cinematography was fantastic. It was directed by Kevin Macdonald, who has a list of largely unrecognizable work, with the exception of 2006 Oscar winner The Last King of Scotland.
The trailers for this film led me to believe that this would be action-packed. If you expect that kind of movie, you will be disappointed. This film has minimal action and mostly dialog. There are breaks with some intense action, but it’s no Bourne flick. So, before you decide to watch The Day the Earth Stopped, scroll through the titles and give State of Play a try.
State of Play is rated PG-13 for violence, language and brief drug content.
Mckay Stevens is a film correspondent for Rhombus. He now prefers letter grades rather than stars, even though stars are pretty. Follow him on Twitter @S_Mckay.
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