Bill Clinton. Howard Dean. John Edwards. Barack Obama. All these men, two successful at becoming POTUS and two not, somewhere did something to make their followers lose some faith in them. Be it infidelity, messing up one’s momentum or in President Obama’s case maybe not doing all the things the way everyone wants them has made at one time or another young people essential lose some hope, innocence and become more cynical. This is a major theme in the The Ides of March, the new film directed by George Clooney and starring himself and Ryan Gosling.
Ryan Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, a political wunderkind that is running the Mike Morris Presidential campaign. Mike Morris, the governor of Pennsylvania is a different type of candidate, he brings hope to people for real change in Washington. He’s not religious, he believes in the science and technology, he’s against the wars and Stephen totally believes in everything he stands for. Stephen learns very quickly that the ways of politics are not shiny and hopeful but about deceit and betrayals.
There is not one bad performance in this entire film. Ides of March has a line up like the ’92 Dream Team. Ryan Gosling is totally on the ball here with another great performance. Gosling is great with acting with his face and knows when not to talk. George Clooney as sparse as he is in this which makes sense being that he also the director is playing charismatic Cary Grant Clooney on the screen. If Mike Morris were real you’d seriously think about voting for him. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Paul Zara the campaign manager and Stephen’s boss/mentor. Hoffman plays him as person that plays to win and has his own beliefs on the things that he feels matter to winning.
Paul Giamatti’s Tom Duffy on the other hand is a complete cynic and dirty pool player. Running Schemes and Giamatti is perfect at playing this. Marisa Tomei’s character, Ida Horowicz has interesting turns as a New York Times reporter covering the democratic campaign. Evan Rachel Wood plays Molly, a character, which is for the most part the center of action in the film. Wood’s character is basically a political Femme Fatale for Gosling’s Stephen character and she plays that up effectively. With this being his fourth film at the helm, Clooney is showing he has a long future in directing. The script is tight but you can tell it is adapted from a play by the fact that all the action usually takes place in some type of room or sited setting. Even so some of the shots in this film are beautiful on the big screen.
This film is great on many levels, from entertainment to technical. Clooney has made with The Ides of March the post honeymoon period of the Obama era film. The film isn’t about anything that a real politician has done; even though similar things have happened in real life, it has the weight of the uncertainty of now in it. Especially after this month with campaigns and marches on Wall Street this film might have come at the right time and place.
FINAL GRADE: A
Originally posted on Reel Film News