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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘State of Play’

Take a break from work: watch a movie trailer…


This is gonna be an interesting test for me. The American remake and truncation of the British miniseries of the same name looks rather intriguing from the trailer. Certainly, I’m a big fan of Russell Crowe, always love the intensity he brings to a role. I’m learning to love Ben Affleck when he sticks to character roles — he’s a dreadful “movie star” but a good actor. I love Helen Mirren, and I really love that the role she’s playing here was played by a man — Bill Nighy — in the miniseries.

That said… The British miniseries is so perfect that it’s hard to imagine not cringing to see it reduced from six glorious hours to two, even if they’re two really good hours. It’s hard to imagine not cringing to see it Hollywoodized: I’m pretty sure there were no car crashes in the original, and I’m pretty sure no one said anything like, “billions of dollars — that’s wrath-of-God money” (but I’ll check).

Here’s where it’ll get really tricky for me: The role Crowe is playing here was played in the miniseries by the beyond-awesome John Simm. Now, I did once describe Simm — when I was trying to explain him to readers who’d never seen him (it appeared offline, so there’s no link) — as “an actor at the imaginary intersection of Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Ewan McGregor.” So there’s a certain quality and intensity that the two actors share… but they’re also very different. And this character, Cal McAffrey, is very much the heart and soul of the story. So will I be able to watch this film without seeing Simm, and will I be able to judge it for itself, and not in comparison with the source material?

Oh, it’s gonna be fun to find out.

(I’ll review the British miniseries soon. If you want to catch up before I write about it, it’s available on both Region 1 and Region 2 DVD. If you liked the most recent Doctor Who story, “The Next Doctor,” you won’t want to miss the miniseries: it stars David Morrissey in the role Ben Affleck is playing in the film. It also features James McAvoy, in a role that appears to have been deleted from the movie, and proper Life on Mars’ proper Gene Hunt, Philip Glenister, in a role here played by Harry Lennix.)

State of Play opens in the U.S. and in the U.K. on April 17.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • allochthon

    Well, it’s a good preview. A test for me too…

    (Alas, since I watched them so close together, and they’re so similar, I get “State of Play” and “The State Within” mixed up in my head…)

  • Drunk Lawyer

    Oh dear! What have they done to our beloved State of Play? They’ve turned a subtle political drama into a Russell Crowe action pic. Huzzar! [sarcastic]Roll on SoP 2 with the awesome John Simm in the Cal role as it should be. Phew DL

  • Barb

    Here we go again. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is what the Brit State of Play is to me (with John Simm – I still haven’t watched a second of the Americanized Life on Mars and do not plan to do so ever). I’m not exactly sure if I have any interest in this movie (I’ll probably catch it when it turns up on cable).

  • Katie Dvorak

    The mini-series is coming up on my Netflix queue and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

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