#291/ 365 – ‘The Ides of March′ – 101 mins
Cinema Challenge #113 / 115
Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is a young political idealist who’s going places. He’s clever, popular and has just landed the job of press agent for a candidate he really believes in. Suave, apparently honourable Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is running in the presidential primary race for the Democrats. But Stephen is about to fall prey to the devious power plays of veteran political operatives, including a rival campaign manager (Paul Giamatti). He’s also seduced by a young intern (Evan Rachel Wood). As rules are bent and the contest gets increasingly dirty, Stephen could still come out on top. But at what cost to his soul?
If you didn’t know it already, then politics is a dirty game, and The Ides of March will sell this to you repeatedly throughout its runtime.
Despite this dirtiness, and one thing’s for sure though its campaign trailer that George Clooney wanted to be a taut political drama. But sadly it isn’t because the politics on show have nothing to do with the one man’s set of ideals and moral compromise the film chooses to deal with, through Ryan Gosling’s sympathetic spin-doctor Stephen Myers, who is one who can certainly talk the talk and walk the walk.
The Ides of March does have some scintillating dialogue at times rolling from tongues of it characters but I somehow wished the film could have been considerably strengthened by some even sharper Aaron Sorkin West Wing style dialogue.
The performances are a high point of The Ides of March. Coming hot on the heels of multi-layered performances in ‘Drive’ and ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’, Ryan Gosling is on a roll, as he continues to impress and is an actor who can do no wrong at present in my humble opinion. Clooney directs himself well in his presidential role, but he disappears into the background for large parts of the film to have a lasting impact. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti as opposing campaign members again show they are two of brilliantly accomplished character actors of their generation and ones who prove to have the most straightforward roles in the film. Finishing off this fine ensemble are Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei who shine in their respective roles as the young intern Molly Stearns and the bitchy reporter Ida Horowicz.
The Ides of March is riveting in places with some good plot twists. However, at other points it does suffer from a lack of adrenaline, much of it down to some unexciting direction from Clooney. It’s not bad, but then it’s nothing special either, and whilst it had the potential to be a compelling political drama it ended up being all too run-of-the-mill.