Sunday, April 19, 2009
STATE OF EXCELLENCE
I love a good, smart political thriller, and that's exactly what I got last night when I saw Kevin McDonald's excellent State of Play. Russell Crowe, yet again, delivers an awesome lead performance -- this guy is probably my favorite actor working right now. He's got great taste in material and he always commands the screen with his presence. I'll have a full review up soon, but this is another intelligent piece of work from writer Tony Gilroy (who co-wrote with two other big-gun screenwriters, Matthew Michael Carnahan and Billy Ray), and director McDonald, hot off the riveting The Last King of Scotland, directs with clean, precision-tooled efficiency, never getting bogged down in unnecessary stylistics or pointless narrative digressions, instead creating a coherent but tricky political guessing game with a shadowy 70's style look and feel. I really enjoyed this one.