May 19, 2009

ANOTHER NEEDLESS REMAKE:

REVIEW: State of Play (James Bowman, 5.19.09, American Spectator)

There were two things that I particularly disliked about Kevin Macdonald's State of Play. What? I seem to hear you ask, only two? I'll get round to them in a minute. This is a big-screen adaptation of a British TV series transplanted from London to Washington, so presumably, its big themes of political corruption and the plight of the newspaper business are the same the world over, or at least the media world over, and therefore quite unaffected by the change of nationality. Actually, this makes three things I disliked, but against the main one, which is the movie's very movieish glorification of journalists and journalism, I'm afraid it is futile to protest. The presence of a journalist in a movie nowadays is like that of a priest 50 or 60 years ago. That is to say, he is automatically a lodestar of moral certainty in world of corruption and ambiguity. Come to think of it, a priest (or devout religious believer) is still an infallible indicator of moral certainty, only now he indicates the presence of evil rather than of good.

The heroes of the original British miniseries are likewise journalists, but they are often unheroic and the portrayal of Labour politicians is just scathing. It's available at The Box and not only features pre-Life on Mars John Simm and Philip Glenister---but a brilliant turn by Bill Nighy as the editor of the paper and engaging performances by as his black sheep son and Kelly MacDonald as the cub reporter with a conscience.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2009 8:24 AM
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