Newest Review: ... Carolina Democratic Senator Franklin Thompson (Jeffrey Wright) who would clinch the election for them. After a debate one night Steph... more
More twists than a bag of pretzels
The Ides of March (DVD)
Member Name: funzo
The Ides of March (DVD)
Date: 09/02/12, updated on 31/12/12 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Superb casting and acting
Disadvantages: slightly slow start
Film Only Review
Political thrillers can be very much hit and miss for me, often finding them slower than a Fiesta full of elephants going uphill and as boring as long bus ride to Wigan on a wet day. However, every now and again a film billed as a political thriller/drama will hit the spot, and The Ides of March, directed by and starring George Clooney most certainly did that.
The Ides of March is the story of political and moral intrigue centred on the campaign for president by Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) and the battle fought for Ohio by the campaign team led by Paul Zara, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and assisted by the savvy and confident Steven Myers played by Ryan Gosling. If Morris can gain the delegates of Ohio he is pretty much assured the Democratic nomination and the presidency, so there is much at stake.
Although this is a political melodrama, this film is more than that. It could have been written against any backdrop - sports, business, life etc for this is a film about the games people play to get ahead in life, not just in politics, but within themselves. We follow Steven at the in-between age of 30 where he's still young enough, confident enough na´ve enough and motivated enough to take over the world and half savvy experienced-cynic; two very confrontational halves and when they clash within, the character takes some surprising and far-reaching turns.
I have to talk about the acting and the casting; all of which absolutely superb. Clooney plays the presidential candidate with aplomb, flitting between the public persona of Mike Morris and the real politically motivated Mike Morris effortlessly. Gosling excels in his role. I am not the biggest fan of Gosling, not having fallen for the hype over his film Drive or fallen in love with his washboard stomach, but he plays his part fantastically and manages to portray the confidence and insecurity of his character very well. The supporting cast is truly top notch; Hoffman as the principled and grizzly campaign manager showed a back to excellence I thought was sadly missing in Jack goes boating. Paul Giamatti playing the Republican campaign manager turned in a superb performance, managing to steal scenes a subtle brilliance. Even the supporting cast of Evan Rachel Wood as the young intern Molly and Marissa Tomei playing the role of the smart journalist, cannot be faulted. Overall, it was great casting and fantastic acting one and all.
As the Director, Clooney did a fine job and on the basis of this film and Good Night, and Good luck (2005) he should be directing more political based dramas. My only criticism of this film is that it is a tad slow at the start and there is a feeling of having to persevere for the first 15 minutes of the film, but by Jove it is worth it. Because what follows is an excellent piece of work that manages to be highly cynical without ramming points of morality down your throat. There are no good or bad guys in this film, it doesn't preach and it doesn't judge, but what it does do is provide an intelligent, well made and well acted provocative moral fable.
Would I Recommend? Absolutely!
Run time 101 mins
Summary: The story of morality, life and political intrigue set against the backdrop of a presidential camp