State Of Play Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
This cover and menu are so boring and inappropriate for this quality movie I won’t even comment……except to say this cover and menu are boring.

Features: 5/10

  • U-Control (Picture In Picture/Washington DC Locations) – You will find some behind the scenes making of documentary style bits, along with a mapping feature where you can see the precise points on the map each scene takes place.
  • Deleted Scenes – There’s nothing here that makes me want to squeeze these missing scenes back in the movie.
  • The Making Of State Of Play – This is a pretty good feature with lots of the director and some cast talking about the making of the movie. They offer some insites about shooting a film in Washington DC, how it was to convert a British TV show into a Hollywood flick, and more. The things that are missing are all the details about the different actors and directors the movie went through before finally getting made.
  • BD-Live – OHhh nothing to see here folks, move along.

The Movie: 8/10
State of Play, it’s a good flick. That doesn’t begin to sum it up, but if someone were holding the elevator door, asking me what movie to rent for this long weekend and some snooty guy was looking at us as if to say, “Get a move on you jerks I’ve got a yacht party to get to….” and some lady was fidgeting because she just lost connection on her phone and is desperate to finish breaking up with her boyfriend when the elevator reaches her chosen floor…well, I’d bark out, “State of Play, it’s a good flick!”

There is a great cast here, just for starters. I liked everyone in the movie, and I didn’t want to like them all. Robin Wright Penn, she’s the top of my list and always will be, so that’s a no-brainer. I”m a fan of Ben Affleck, but then I sometimes think he has some hefty limitations. This time around he has a few isolated moments of “hmmm that’s kind of acting 101” but other than that he holds his own with THE Russell Crowe. Who, by the way is one of the most watchable actors in recent history, at least for me. I don’t mean that I dig him as a man, just that his style of acting is compelling in every single scene. He plays a rough around the edges reporter and I was convinced from the first time he hits the screen that he is indeed that guy. Sometimes those “big” stars tend to lose their characters in amongst being the famous person, but Crow gets lost and I like that.

Rachel McAdam’s is awesome, there I said it. I really really like watching her. She’s funny and smart, and completely holds up in every scene with all of the other star faces. Mirren, Bateman, they are my dream of movie actors. I could watch just those to duke it out in an act-off any day.

The story takes us one way, then a little bit over there, and a little bit over there, and when you think you have it wrapped up, you don’t. Political intrique, some action, some personal dramas and relationship stuff tossed in for good measure, this is an all rounder for me. It’s not perfect. There are a couple times when I wish a portion of the story was flushed out more, but not enough to become a negative. I would always opt for a longer movie with more substance than a shorter movie with a faster pace.

The look of the movie is a combination of grit and gloss, which fits the lead characters of Crow and Affleck as the rough reporter and slick congressman. Washington DC never has looked so interesting in a movie, back streets, sleezy motels, it’s a lovely art design all around.

State of Play is based on a TV show from England. I think it takes on the Hollywood skin quite well. I would would watch it again actually….pass the popcorn. The quality of the film, the top notch cast, and the fact that I enjoyed it so much really does put the movie (maybe not the BluRay overall) up there for the year of movies, so far.

Audio & Video: 8/10
I was ready to bash the picture quality of this Blu-Ray disc but something in the back of my mind was telling me to investigate further. Let me explain, on first viewing you will see a noticeable difference between the quality of video from scene to scene in State Of Play. Some scenes are soft dark and murky while others are so sharp you can see every detail, this IS intentional and is confirmed if you watch the making of feature on the disc.

In the feature the Director or Photography tells you about how they used two different cameras to film the different scenes, one is a handheld camera which follows the gritty Russell Crowe character and the other is a static HD camera which follows the more polished politician played by Ben Affleck. This creates two very different looks and is a little jarring if you are not aware of the Dp’s intent. Having said that the Blu-Ray disc does look excellent with some fine detail obviously in the Affleck scenes mainly.

Audio is also a little bit of a mixed bag. The opening scene in particular where Russell Crowe’s character is chatting to a policeman at a crime scene, it’s quite hard to hear what he’s saying under the noise of helicopters and police cars. Again I am not sure if this is intentional but it’s worth noting. The score in State Of Play is quite impressive its one of those sweeping orchestral scores that swells up at just the right moments. Overall the audio is pretty great and it’s hard to nitpick.

I really enjoyed State Of Play enough that I am interested in seeing the British Mini Series it is based on. It’s a intelligent, tight thriller that hits all the right notes, also the casting is perfect. Recommended!

Value: 6/10
The movie is really top quality. The extras are ok. Would I buy it for more than 12 bucks? No. I am a renter on this film, even though I enjoyed it a lot and probably will again. Two rents are still less than one purchase:) It’s just not one of those that screams at me to spend the cash, at least not until it’s in that bargain bin at the store.

Overall Score 8/10