Stars: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei
Director: George Clooney
Genre: Drama/Political thriller
In The Ides of March, Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is the young and talented press secretary to democratic presidential hopeful, Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). The demo primary race has been narrowed down to two candidates, and whoever takes Ohio will be on the fast track to clinching the nomination.
Then, for Stephen, temptation appears, in the form of a young and provocative campaign intern named Molly (Evan Rachel Wood). And then, in the form of Tom Duffy, (Paul Giamatti) who runs Morris' opponent's campaign, and tries to get Stephen to jump ship and join the opposing side. Stephen proves susceptible to seduction--the literal kind that Molly provides--and the lure of being on what may be the winning side that Duffy is holding out like a carrot on a stick.
Things get more complicated for Stephen--and The Ides of March kicks into a new gear--when he learns a secret from Molly that could deal a fatal blow to Morris and his campaign, were it to become public knowledge. The once idealistic press secretary becomes locked in a struggle for his own future and personal power--amidst the machinations, manipulations, and skulduggery of national politics that we've all become too familiar with--whenever the dirty laundry of a John Edwards or a Rod Blagojevich is aired in public.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The fine acting from this accomplished cast--especially that of Philip Seymour Hoffman (as the Morris campaign manager) and Paul Giamatti.
- The dramatic music score from award winning composer Alexandre Desplat.
- Nobody gets shot. No cars get blown up. No skinny woman fighting half a dozen burly guys simultaneously and leaving them all splayed out on the floor. In other words, a film for those with an IQ above 75.
WHAT I WASN'T CRAZY ABOUT:
- The film moves at a snail's pace in the beginning. But when things pick up, it's worth it.
- The ending. It's rather abrupt. Like these sentences. Guess I just prefer. More resolution. But if you think. About it. It makes. A statement. Don't think. About it.
The Ides of March is a character study of one man's descent from the ideals he holds dear in the beginning, to the sacrificing of those ideals for personal and political gain. There is a profound cynicism here about our political system, and what it takes to get elected to high office. Unfortunately, for we the people, it rings true.
Grade: B +