Much of what happens in the bowels of power is never made public. Collusion, influence peddling, false agreements, fortunes transported in suitcases to tax havens from which they rarely return, all financed with taxpayers’ money, defrauded this same poor taxpayer. Despite the strict labeling of the press – which does not agree to participate in these anti-republican expedients, at least – politicians always find a way to dirty the profits and the obscure business opportunities offered by their profession, by using in many circumstances of the laws themselves and their many shortcomings. Unfortunately, the number of honest politicians, who use the prerogative conferred on them by the electorate to supervise other bodies of power and create laws capable of promoting the good use of fiscal resources, of applying them and not ignoring makes it smaller and smaller. The bad thing that Brazilians live with from the moment they see the light of the world until the moment they die, politics as a criminal activity takes place all over the planet, perhaps on a smaller scale than ‘here, but still involving general harm.
“State Intrigues” (2009) opens wide the unhealthy environment of politics which does not allow itself to be penetrated and the exercise of journalism, an activity linked to the investigation of State agents which often remains in vain, precisely because of the force exerted behind the scenes. The film by British director Kevin Macdonald criticizes both political action, a source of harmful actions for the ordinary citizen, and the busy daily life of press professionals, who are not always able to follow the progress of many of these cases. Here, the great antagonist is a company that begins to be questioned about its astonishing growth, while mysterious crimes also become a constant in Washington. First, a man is shot; later, the witness, a woman, also turns up dead, whetting the nose of Washington Globe reporter Cal MacCaffrey. Cal, played by Russell Crowe, is tasked with covering up the crimes; Russell Crowe’s character, very different from how the viewer has grown accustomed to seeing him, investigates who the possible murderer might be, assuming the death was not random, and does it right: the victim was an employee of Ben Affleck’s Rep. Stephen Collins, who eventually confessed to the extramarital affair during a congressional hearing. His wife, Anne, watches all this on television and a few days later gives a press conference to express her support for her husband. Anne, Robin Wright Penn’s character, was already Cal’s lover when they were both students, and this reunion proves to be impactful for both of them. Closing the film’s second act, Macdonald adds to the story the information that the dead man was carrying a briefcase, stolen from PointCorp, a company that owes much of its capital to government corporations. The siege around Collins ends.
There are certain details in “State Intrigues” that arouse the curiosity of those who watch, such as the appearance of Della Frye, Cal’s assistant played by Rachel McAdams, much more competent than him and without his relations a little promiscuity. At this point, the director turns to a well-crafted critique of a given genre of journalism, which advances only by its own deals with the powerful in turn, which is seen in the veteran’s friendship. “Washington Globe” affair. and Deputy Collins. Macdonald reinforces stereotypes with Cameron Lynne, Helen Mirren’s semi-executive editor, who, though highly ethical and, apparently, highly experienced, is seduced by Cal’s alleged ease in uncovering the member’s filth. Congress.
Of course, no one can take “State Intrigues” as the perfect example of a political thriller that scrutinizes the suspicious ties between politicians and journalists. What the film really intends is at least to point the finger at this reality, to put the finger on the wound, however slightly. The whole results in a production that respects good technical levels, well assembled, with frames designed to enhance the great photography of Rodrigo Prieto. Reveling in the mundane, the screenplay by Billy Ray, Matthew Michael Carnahan and Tony Gilroy makes Cal look like a hero, ceding some of his success to Della. It was the bare minimum.
Film: State intrigues
Direction: Kevin Macdonald
To note: 7/10