State of Play

Rated 2.0

Russell Crowe plays a newspaper reporter who has a conflict of interest when his friend and state senator (Ben Affleck) gets mixed up in a sex scandal. This is a film that goes to great lengths to show how a news story happens, and the pressures and obstacles a reporter faces to make them happen. Crowe is very good in the lead, and it’s good to see Affleck acting his head off. Unfortunately, the film unravels towards the end, culminating in a moronic and unfortunate finale. I really wish they could just go back and change this ending. It’s too bad, because they really had something for the first three quarters of the movie. The film wants you to know that daily newspapers are important, and that they also seem to be dying off. It might wind up being some sort of historical marker, but it won’t stand as a good movie.