Some time back, I watched – and blogged about- the TV serial State of Play, starring John Simm and David Morrissey, which I rated pretty highly. Now I’ve watched the film version, starring Russell Crowe. Paul Abbott’s story is transferred here to the US and I didn’t expect to like the film as much as the original, but to my surprise, I did.
It’s a conspiracy thriller – a maverick journalist gets wind of a plot that involves his old friend Stephen Collins, who is now a rising politician. The fact the journalist fancies Stephen’s wife is a complication, and there are plenty of plot twists.
One flaw in the TV version was that the pace sagged in the middle - not so with the film. In the original, Collins plays a greater part than in the film, which tends to focus on Russell Crowe, who does his charismatic slob performance very effectively. The newspaper editor, brilliantly done on TV by Bill Nighy, is done differently but again very well if less quirkily by Helen Mirren.
Conspiracy thrillers tend in my opinion to be very hit and miss. But State of Play is definitely a hit. I enjoyed both versions, and can recommend them.