State and Main

Joe's Preview Review

A new David Mamet film, he can not write a bad script. He spins amazing tales, a wizard of the typewriter.

Joe's Review

Anytime I hear William H. Macy's in a movie, I know I'll see at least one good performance in a film. When you add in Phillip Seymour Performance, that makes it two. When David Mamet is at the helm, you know two of the best American actors working today will having an amazing script to work with directed by a director who knows what to do with it, himself.

After making the mystifying, dazzling masterpiece The Spanish Prisoner (my favorite film of '97) and following that up in '99 with The Winslow Boy which made my top ten for '99, I of course had high expectations for this film. He was going back to his more comedical satirical flavor that he used for the politically charged Wag The Dog. While most of that film was spent satirizes Hollywood , all of State and Main is spent satirizes the in, outs, and idiosyncrasies of the people running the movie biz.

The base of the story is normal. A crew has been forced to move its shooting location and they find a small town in Vermont to shoot in. William H. Macy is the veteran director, Hoffman is the first-time screenwriter, Alec Baldwin is the trouble plagued star who brings in the box office receipts, and Sarah Jessica Parker is his high profile costar.

The first thing I noticed watching the film was a Boogie Nights / Magnolia / Paul Thomas Anderson reunion with Bill, Phil, and Ricky Jay. The background guys who gathered much of their early acclaim from Boogie Nights especially Hoffman have made it to the forefront with more prominent roles. Good actors know where they make good movies. That's with good filmmakers. Macy is brilliantly savvy as the veteran filmmaker. Hoffman is also brilliant, as usual. That's all I can say about him every time I see him. He can do no wrong. I think I said that in my Almost Famous review also.

Hoffman's character falls for the local beauty, Annie, who happens to be a brilliant writer on the side played beautifully by (Rebecca Pidgeon). It's one of those rare positive, strong, empowering roles for women that doesn't not go overboard and get preachy. Erin Brockovich is one of those overboard roles. Annie becomes the abused writer's muse and allows him to pump out what he needs to pump out.

The cast is great. The movie is funny while witty and completely enjoyable. A definite reccomendation.


Rating 3.5 out of 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rated R for language and brief sexual images
Starring: William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rebecca Pidgeon, Julia Stiles Written and Directed by: David Mamet (The Winslow Boy, The Spanish Prisoner)

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