State of play (Kevin MacDonald, 2009)
Journalists in films are always mature men, skeptical, cynical, even unsociable and untidy. They’re disorganized but methodical. Bad paid but idealistic. They’re back from life, living only for their job, because they have nothing else to live for. They work in newspapers, not in radio or tv stations. Much less in a digital media, which are, in worst case scenario, the enemy. They know the right people in the right place at the right moment. They go after the news at day, at night or at dawn, it doesn’t matter. But they’ll never attend a press conference, unless it’s given by the President himself. In that case, they will ask not a question, but the question, that one that will blow everything up. If it were necessary, and it always is, they will confront their bosses to defend the search for Truth, in capital letters, and they’re not afraid of being fired, because they’re the best, and they know that everyone else know this. What they don’t know is that there’s a closing time, and they’ll stop the rotary press everytime they need to, because what they are dealing with is always a live or death affaire.
In the film State of play, Russell Crowe is one of those mythical journalists that we all wanted to be, just because we didn’t think about it enough. The investigation he starts about a double murder related with drugs crosses with a Congresist assistant suicide and, suddenly, he’s up to the highest level conspiracy… Helen Mirren is the editor who’s going to put pressure on him for the article to be on time, although she knows it won’t be, and Rachel McAdams is a young editor from the internet section who will eventually learn lessons about journalism and life from the old dinosaur.
They’ll have to run a race against time to reach the Truth, avoiding editorial, business, comercial, police and political interests, solving ethical and moral conflicts and risking their lives. But, eventually, Truth will be revealed, black on white in the morning papers, no matter at what price.
Because the mythical journalist from films is not only a story-teller, but also a guardian of freedom, a keeper of democracy and justice, fighter of the corrupts. He’s the one who, from the margins of the system, watch over us.
What a beautiful tale.