A fleeing black man is killed by an assassin in an alley in Washington DC. A pizza delivery man, who witnessed this shooting, is also killed. Next day, reporter Cal McAffrey(Russell Crowe) for Washington Globe visits the site to get a lead on the story. While Cal is looking around in the crime scene, Sonia Baker is killed in the subway station when someone pushes her onto the railway track in front of an oncoming train.
Sonia was working for Congressman Stephen Collins(Ben Affleck) as a lead researcher on his staff. Stephen is leading a congressional hearing on the company named PointCorp, a private defense contractor. He hears the news before the hearing. At the hearing, Stephen cries while announcing the death of Sonia Baker. This sends the media into a frenzy as they suspect this to be a suicide after a disappointing romantic liaison between Sonia and Stephen.
Cal watches the whole event live on TV at the offices of Washington Globe. Soon, he is approached by the in-house blogger, Della Frye(Rachel McAdams) for information regarding Stephen. Cal and Stephen are estranged friends. When Cal refuses, he is persuaded by his editor, Cameron Lynne(Helen Mirren).
Stephen is advised to keep a low profile during the hearing by his senior colleague, Rep George Fergus(Jeff Daniels). That night, Stephen turns up at Cal’s place. Soon, Stephen confesses to Cal about Sonia Baker. Stephen and Sonia were having an affair and so, he does not believe in her alleged suicide. Then, Stephen backs this with a video message sent to him by Sonia.
Cal, driven by guilt due to a past incident involving Stephen and his wife, Anne(Robin Wright Penn), decides to help Stephen. For accomplishing this, he starts helping Della to uncover the truth.
The rest of the story tells us who was responsible for these killings and also reveals the dark secret between Cal, Stephen and Anne.
Kevin McDonald directs this thriller. He based this movie on the popular British television series of the same name. The story deals with investigative journalism using the backdrop of politics. He has also subtly touched upon the emergence of new media(online) and growing pressure on the newspaper industry to be profitable in this new age.
Although there are big names associated with this movie, the story telling overshadows the performance.
Good watch if you are looking for thrills.