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STATE OF PLAY ($40) may not be the most original political thriller out there, but it does feature a strong ensemble cast and proves itself to be quite entertaining. Based upon the BBC miniseries, STATE OF PLAY offers a condensed, Americanized version of the story, which is set in Washington, D.C.. The film version of STATE OF PLAY features Russell Crowe as seasoned newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey, who is gathering details about a street shooting that has left one victim dead and another in a coma. On the same news day, and in a seemingly unrelated turn of news making events, a young woman commits suicide by leaping off a subway platform in the path of an oncoming train. And as it turns out, the young woman was the mistress of Cal’s college roommate Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), who happens to be an up and coming Congressman, in the midst of investigating a private defense contractor with controversial business practices.

As expected, the seemingly unrelated stories turn out to be very related, with our veteran reporter able to connect the dots that the police have yet to see… including the fact that the supposed suicide is far more likely a murder. Of course, in order to distance himself from certain aspects of the investigation, Cal utilizes the talents of Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), one of the newspaper’s online political bloggers, who has already been sniffing around the story of the disgraced Congressman. As the two reporters shake various trees, bits and pieces of an the underlying conspiracy that connect the two stories are brought to light. The excellent cast of STATE OF PLAY also features Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman and Jeff Daniels.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made STATE OF PLAY available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The terrific 1080p presentation delivers the type of strong image that one should naturally expect from a new theatrical release. STATE OF PLAY features a picture that is very crisp, highly dimensional and delivers a marvelous level of fine detail. Colors favor a somewhat cooler, subdued pallet that works quite well in the context of the material. Blacks are deep, while the whites appear crisp and stable. Contrast is smooth, and the level shadow detail is good, even if certain sequences are intentionally shadowy. The film elements from which STATE OF PLAY has been mastered appear pristine. Some mild grain is present in the image.

STATE OF PLAY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering that much of STATE OF PLAY is talky drama, the sound design isn’t likely to make anyone’s demo pile. Still, the outlying channels do see some activity, but when they do, sound effects tend to be of an environmental nature, which create cohesive sonic environments. The musical component benefits from the lossless encode, as do the convincing sound effects. Bass is weighty and add impact to key sequences. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. The primary extra is the nineteen minute The Making Of State Of Play, whose title tells it all. A couple of Deleted Scenes close out the standard extras. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements (requires a Profile 1.1 player). STATE OF PLAY is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

STATE OF PLAY is an entertaining political thriller that has been given a high quality presentation on Blu-ray. Definitely worth checking out in high definition.



State of Play [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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