I watched State of Play last night (the 2009 Hollywood movie, rather than the made-for-television BBC miniseries of 2003).
It was good and is worth watching. I am a big fan of the original BBC version (which is 6 hours over 6 episodes, unlike the Hollywood movie which is just 2 hours). The Hollywood version isn’t quite as gripping as the BBC version but it’s still very good. I was impressed by how they’d brought it up to date – referencing Afghanistan, Iraq, blogging, etc.
The storyline focuses on a Congressman in Washington (an MP in Whitehall in the BBC version) whose young female researcher dies in an underground accident. They’d been having an affair. A number of other people get killed early on and you realise it’s the military industrial complex and their power over government that’s at the heart of the story. The other protagonist is the journalist who uncovers the story – who is himself a university friend of the politician.
The BBC version, at 6 hours, is more complex and more detailed, as you might imagine. However, the Hollywood version at 2 hours is a good compromise.
The Hollywood version is great because the military industrial complex in question focuses on PointCorp which is fairly obviously based on Blackwater, the controversial US private military firm that has a very tainted track record for its operations in Iraq (where they no longer have a license to operate). It felt very believable in light of that and the significant power of lobby groups with huge financial backers should never be underestimated, I don’t think.
Whilst the movie version is very good – if you want to settle down to 6 hours of very high quality drama, I’ve noticed that the BBC version can be had for just £3.98 on Amazon.co.uk which is very good value.