The thing that really intrigued me about State of Play is the perspective it took on old vs. new media in the world of journalism. Sitting in the theatre, I started to think the film’s writer may just be a fan of newsprint over Internet.
Russel Crowe’s character was the driving figure in the film, even if the character was a stereotypical print reporter. Crowe’s co-star, Rachel McAdams, was the hip, up-and-coming blogger on the on-line side of the big daily. Just like Crowe’s character being depicted as an experienced reporter/junk-food eating slob, the way McAdam’s character was initially framed in the story epitomizes the belief that bloggers aren’t “real” reporters. Right away, she was painted as someone who wrote fluff and gossip pieces and didn’t do hard news.
Then, and this is the part that I really liked, the big story hit and Crowe and McAdams worked as a team to break it. As this story arc developed, the battle to deconstruct the stereotypes ensued. By the end, Crowe’s “old dog” had laid the foundation and helped to educate McAdam’s “up-and-comer” in the fine art of real, hard news reporting.
As far as I can tell, the movie was trying to do two things where journalism is concerned. It was editorializing that there is still value in hard news reporting done by the well-connected, experienced print journalist. It was also trying to change the tide regarding the perception that on-line journalists (re: bloggers) aren’t reporting real news.
In addtion, there was an underlying, continuous swipe being taken at the practice that is occurring all too often these days–the corporate takeover of the newspaper business.
All in all, the film was a great philosphical argument about the future of journalism. It was tied together with some fantastic cinematography and a decent amount of thrilling plot twists.
I’d give it an 8 out of 10. I’d watch it again when it comes out on DVD.