Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Conspiracy thriller

Definition of quid pro quo:
Latin for "something for something" indicates a more-or-less equal exchange or substitution of goods or services.

Russell Crowe: Cal McAffrey, investigative reporter for The Washington Globe
Rachel McAdams: Della Frye, the paper’s blog-reporter
Helen Mirren: its Editor Cameron Lynne
Ben Affleck: U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins
Robin Wright Penn: his wife Anne
Jason Bateman: P.R. man Dominic Foy
Jeff Daniels: U.S. Congressman George Fergus

It used to be that you left the theatre after seeing a conspiracy thriller pleased that you had figured it out before all is revealed in the third reel. Not today you don’t.

For reasons known only to screenwriters, nowadays movies of this sort have to be really convoluted with unexpected twists not even hinted at so that the viewer has to struggle to understand what is going on only to be left wondering “who dunnit?”

And it’s not like they ran out of time: it’s already more than two hours long so another five minutes wouldn’t make a big difference.

Apart from that there are several fine performances (apart from Affleck as usual), the cinemaphotography is excellent, the editing and musical score are both well done. And the scary part is that the conspiracy plot is plausible.

for some violence, language including sexual references, and brief drug content.

1. Ms. Lynne calls a meeting. The office clock shows it to be 9:05 but by Cal’s wristwatch it is 2:45 and 10:30 on the clock behind them.
2. His nameplate should have read Sen. Collins not Mr. Collins and as the head of a U.S. Senate Congressional hearing into PointCorp his title as Chairman is missing.
3. Dominic drives a 2009 Cadillac CTS-V. This high performance version of the standard CTS was introduced to the market in the 4th quarter of 2008 some 8 months after these events took place.
4. Cal rattles off some of the car’s specifications but gets the horsepower all wrong: he says it has 320 whereas the car actually produces a whopping 550 horsepower
5. While taking notes in the hotel room the top of Della’s pen moves by itself about the table.
6. Dominic takes a swig of his beer and sets it down with the brand label towards the window. But the recorded image shows the beer label to be pointing the other direction.
7. When Cal rushes out of her office, Della immediately runs after him. When she catches up to him, the necklace he had just put on her has disappeared.

Haven’t yet figured out what the title is all about, what it has to do with this film.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Ralph,

Seeing you've given this movie but 2 stars only seals the deal more. A number of years ago, I fell in love with a gladiator. Now, when I see this gladiator in a promo looking soft and like he doesn't own a brush, I say 'no thanks.'