By positioning an investigative journalist in the protagonist's role, State of Play achieves an old-fashioned feel (there was a time when many TV shows and films of this variety featured such characters) while also allowing the filmmakers to comment upon the current state of the print business. (The film started production long before the rash of newspaper bankruptcies began.) Helen Mirren's character is caught square in the crosshairs: the Globe must make money or perish, and all other considerations - including fact-checking stories and holding headlines until all the details are uncovered - are secondary. Things were never like this for Woodward and Bernstein in All the President's Men.
Congressman Collins' pursuit of these shadowy corporate villains is derailed by his own Chandra Levy scandal -- a beautiful intern, romantically linked to the congressman, dies under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly the political crusader's credibility is shot to hell, as if by the state-of-the-art weaponry of a certain military contractor. Even CNN's Lou Dobbs weighs in on the scandal (you can tell it's fiction because Dobbs never once mentions illegal immigrants). 59ce067264