Sunday, May 03, 2009
State of Tedium
I recently watched the 6 hour BBC version of the relatively recent movie “State of Play” starring Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren and Ben Affleck. The BBC version weaved an intricate plot about a member of Parliament, played by British actor David Morrissey, who was an heroic opponent against the mean ol’ right wing energy companies who were exploiting the people. The 2 hour “American” version is about a Congressman played by Affleck – someone who has never once convinced me as an actor – set in Washington DC. In this version, Affleck is an heroic opponent to the mean ol’ right wing private contracting “Blackwater” type outfits.
If you are a DC-afile then you might enjoy the scenery. Ben’s Chili Bowl. Union Station. The monuments. Ah.
The self-righteous and politically “aware” Affleck patronizes us with several tirades against these right wing villains who sound like, if unchecked, will one day rule not only the world, but over the entire Universe. The writers lose all credibility here. This kind of conservative bashing is outright tiring: banality bathed in ennui to people like me. If I was watching this at home on DVD, this nonsense along with the watered down plot would be the point I turn off the DVD and return to “Days of Our Lives. The writers stretch it so far that one of the obvious dirt soaked bad-guy Congressmen we find at the denouement, you had to know, was some kind of Christian right winger who takes umbrage of the Affleck character “taking the Lord’s name in vain…” My, how hypocritical and so, so ho hum.
A couple of weeks ago, Joe Morgenstern of the WSJ picked up on the superiority of the BBC version. Watching the two is like reading a book, then going to see the movie version. Always a bit disappointing, and certainly over exploitive of those guys who are always the villains. But at least the shots of downtown DC are fun to see.
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