Today I watched the movie State of Play online. I had really wanted to see it, I just never had the money to do so when it came out.
I thought this movie was awesome. It had a highly developed plotline, though perhaps not the most intriguing or surprising twists and turns.
First of all, the cast is the Departed-esque type that you know is going to be winning before the film even starts. Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, and Ben Affleck; all the among the best in their respected categories.
I won't even begin to try to cover the whole conspiracy plot because I'd probably screw it up anyway, so I'm just going to look at one part of the movie: its focus on the newspaper industry and the role of journalism in society.
Journalism is the "fourth estate" of our government. It serves as a check on the other three branches and is meant to play a role in informing the public, though it can be argued for many reasons why this role is not met.
Anyway, in the movie, Russell Crowe is the old dog who has all the informants in every area of the city (Washington, D.C.). He fact checks, gathers sources, puts himself on the line, etc. etc. Rachel McAdams is a young, hotshot reporter who writes a blog for the online site of the newspaper. Immediate clash of old ways and new ways. Looking past this chemistry of anti-chemistry though, this is a highlight of the future of print media; obsolete. Skip this sentence if you wish to not hear a secret about the movie's end: She ends up letting him print the big story in the print newspaper. Why? Because newspapers are integral. They set the news agenda (thanks J201), but more than that they have a deep root in american society. They're part of history (extra, extra) and have been classically known as what breaks the shocking news...the morning edition.
Apart from this, the editor of this paper (Helen Mirren) is eager to keep her paper afloat after it is bought by a corporation. It's no secret that corporations seek money and newspapers need to catch attention to gain readers--this isn't a positive thing. What captures attention? "Families of twelve year old somalians mourn" or We got them! We got those Nasty Pirates!"? What's the truth? Are they both true? Does anyone care? In the movie, they almost have to print this story before they've uncovered what it's actually about- they need to sell their paper now to please corporate, not to mention the media conglomerate's distaste for a story that bashes a major US company...connection? Lobbying? They never really say in the movie but it's possible. Say they did print this--the actual story could never be revealed. See the danger?
Okay, this went into a lot of deep subjects which I'm sure I'll come back to later. Peace