Despite the cliched nature of much of the dialogue and the derivative thriller set-ups, 'State of Play' provides sufficient old-fashioned entertainment value to justify the ticket.
The three screenwriters may have been trying to work too many plot strands into two hours; in any case, State of Play is both overstuffed and inconclusive.
As a former reporter and a fervent believer that we need good, independent newspapers to do their jobs keeping government and business in check, I think they got the journalism right.
At the Movies
A meandering movie that sometimes hits dead center and sometimes misfires dismally, resulting in a drama more tangled than taut.
Los Angeles Times
It's a film in a hurry. In the scant minutes between plot twists, we get treated to bite-size nuggets of character development and a few juicy nibbles of acting from a cast almost universally committed to going large.
Giving new meaning to movie magic, those Hollywood tricksters have managed to shorten the story while slowing the pace -- all of a sudden, minutes are passing like hours.
Globe and Mail
This rote paranoid thriller was adapted from a 2003 BBC miniseries, with a few topical headlines folded in and some cursory attempts to make newspapers seem au courant.
J. R. Jones
State of Play is bordered by the states of absurdity and cliche.
New York Post
Holds together in proper, conspiracy-thriller style, providing general audiences with a few good surprises and some crackling performances.
State of Play makes you wonder where we'll be in a decade; more importantly, it makes you wonder where we are now.
State of Play does get a little creaky in its last third -- at that point it needs to be more streamlined, more concise. But Macdonald and the screenwriters manage to weave their ideas through a sturdy-enough plot, so we never feel we're being preach
This conspiracy thriller, starring Russell Crowe as an investigative newspaper reporter and Helen Mirren as his fire/ice editor, comes at us like the proverbial bat out of hell and keeps up a brisk rhythm built for intelligence.
For about 115 minutes, State of Play tells an alarming, tightly constructed story, with serious things to say about journalism and the state of the country.
San Francisco Chronicle
The movie doesn't quite work, but even when it's misfiring it has an old-fashioned appeal.
Dallas Morning News
For a handy compare-and-contrast, check out the small- and big-screen versions of State of Play. You'll see the difference between a vital work of popular art and a patched-up retread.
The chance to explore the swiftly changing culture of Web-age journalism is one of several intriguing possibilities that State of Play squanders.
New York Times
Directed by Kevin Macdonald, it's a capable if convoluted 'B' movie about government corruption, with an 'A' cast furiously pounding the pavement and keyboard.