6
May 09

Tiny Chin Simm vs Big Chin Affleck

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State Of Play makes a good fist of its convoluted conspiracy theory adaptation of the BBC series. Really. It lacks a special ooomph that a faithful adaptation often does, in attempting not to fuck up the original it shows a lack of willingness to experiment with the storyline and thus is merely an excellent translation (HELLO WATCHMEN!) But for all the journalistic clichés and breathless holding of the presses its a thoroughly enjoyable experience. But is there anything in there for the viewer of the original.

Well John Simms tiny chin become Russell Crowe and his bulbous nose (it rhymes). And Helen Mirren appear to play Bill Nighy with exactly the same lines, hairdo and – bar the odd dress – wardrobe. But Kevin Macdonald, the director, has got his eye out for the British audience. He throws us a bone that only UK viewers could get. In the early scenes where Ben Affleck’s (BIG CHIN) Senator is being debriefed by his colleagues, we get two politicians sent to deal with this out of control situation. One is Jeff Daniels, ahngdog as ever and still retaining a touch of that Dumb and Dumber charm. But the spin doctor put on his case, to limit damages and, one assumes, present things in a santised and untrue way, well that is played by Brennan Brown. AKA Mr Dresden from the Orange film ads which everyone in the cinema has seen, both that day and every time people have been to the cinema in the last eight years.

Whilst I am loathe to condemn Mr Brown to a lifetime of Orange ads (though I assume they must be quite lucrative by now) his presences takes you out of the film in a jarring way. Suddenly its a cameo from that dimwitted, money-grubbing studio exec. We are a second away from a mobile phone reference, clearly this version of State Of Play is a cynical remake existing to make money only. WHICH OF COURSE IT IS. His presence is actually a stroke of genius for British viewers, distracting us momentarily from what we know will happen and giving us a whole new baddie to consider. All by association only. So I say more well known ad actors in key supporting roles. Apart from Patsy Kensit, those peas when pop years ago.

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