The Ides of March

There’s a show on the Discovery Channel called Dirty Jobs.  It’s where the host takes on the positions of individuals who have to crawl through dirt and grime, work for endless hours, and at the end of the day they go home filthy.  Now that show deals with physical labor positions.  But if you focus on the gist of what that show is about and take away the physical aspect, it kind of sounds a lot like politics right?

We all know that politics is a dirty, dirty business.  Idealists that enter the ring of the political arena may walk in clean and holding their morale values high, and think I can make a difference and not play by “their” rules.  But, when the game is about winning and the other side doesn’t play fair, would you really not stoop down to that level so that it’s an even playing field…

The Ides of March

Director George Clooney gives us The Ides of March, a political drama that focuses in on Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling), a young senior staffer for the campaign of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney).  Stephen truly believes in his candidate, someone he thinks is a strong morale man who will uphold the constitution and not let his own political beliefs, religious beliefs, or anything else cloud his judgment.  In truth, Governor Morris on the surface looks like the perfect candidate.  He’s idealistic and the views and stances that come out of his mouth is something that a nation could easily stand behind.

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Paul Zara, the Governor’s campaign manager.  He’s a man that will use and manipulate the press and others so that his candidate will win.  There’s one thing that’s important to him above all else and that is loyalty.

The Ides of March

Managing the campaign up against Governor Morris is Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) who’s equally intent upon seeing his candidate win the primary and eventually the White House.

When a young intern, Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood) and Stephen begin having a relationship, he comes to learn something of his candidate that lifts the veil of innocence from his eyes.  How will this revelation affect Governor Morris, and most importantly, how will it affect his own political future?

The performances in this film are excellent.  Ryan Gosling is having a terrific year and an Academy Award nomination in my opinion for best actor is all but a certainty.  He’s truly matured as an actor and although his facial expressions occasionally are a bit stolid, he gets across the emotions necessary for the scenes to work effectively well.

The Ides of March

I was happy to see Clooney take a minor supporting role and allow the cast of actors he assembled to do their jobs.  Hoffman is terrific as Duffy.  Giamatti, brilliant in almost everything he does has a small role, but a pivitol role in the future of Gosling’s character and the scenes between the two are very good.

My one issue I had with the film was the very end of the movie.  Without giving anything away I felt as though Clooney tried to make the audience believe there was going to be some sudden “change or heart” or something like that.  But regardless, the movie is very well made.

This is a very good movie that has some nominee-worthy acting performances in it.  This is the fourth feature film that Clooney has directed and he’s proving to be just as effective behind the camera as he is in front of it.  But, I’d still rather see him in front of the camera where he ultimately belongs.

FINAL GRADE:  A –

Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres

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