DIRECTOR: Kevin Macdonald
May Contain Spoilers!
When I sat down to watch All The President’s Men… Oh hang on, sorry, State Of Play, the first thing that struck me was the quality and the details. It felt like we were watching a working newspaper in action and then there’s cast, led by Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Afleck and Helen Mirren who all play the parts to convince me. In fact, there are very few weak links here, certainly in regards to the acting.
I have to begin by admitting that even tough I’m British, I have never seen the original BBC drama State Of Play, which this American drama is based and which it has also condensed but this is not a purely U.S. deal. The setting and the politics have been changed to suit the times and the locations which is now Washington D.C. rather than London, and I can’t in all fairness compare the tone or details from original, which may be a good thing. So, this film…
I liked it, even though it did feel like a remake of All The President’s Men (1976) at times but even though it clearly drew influence from that iconic movie, it lived up to the comparison well. I rarely felt that I would rather have been watching All The Presidents’ Men over this. Crowe was convincing as a seasoned reporter and Mirren brought gravitas and believability to her role as the Washington Globe’s editor.
All in all, it felt real, plausible and it was only let down by the plot twists and developments, which don’t seem to live up to the levels of the drama. As a newspaper and political procedural, this works well but as thriller, it feels more like an episode of The Equalizer somehow. A shame but still very watchable for the cracking performances and interesting story, though I suspect it has been somewhat condensed from the mini-series original.