The Ides of March



By Gary Murray


Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood 


Written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon


Directed by George Clooney


Running time 1 hr 41 min


MPAA Rating R


Selig Film Rating Cable


George Clooney has gone from TV star to one of the most recognized film actors in the world.  Since his debut, he has become the kind of man that women want and men want to be like.  Jet-setting with some of the most beautiful women on the planet, he is the poster boy for all of those afternoon gossip shows.  But, Clooney wants to be considered an artist and has been working behind the scenes on different projects for a number of years.  His latest on both sides of the camera is the political pot-boiler The Ides of March


The film takes place in a world where two candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for President.  Everyone knows that with a weak Republican, the person who wins the nomination will be the next Commander and Chief.  Running second is Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) a flashy contender who has all the right answers.  His press secretary Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is also an up-and-comer who believes in the Governor, his policies and his ability to win it all.  


Stephen works with Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) one of those ‘been there, seen that’ political magicians who can make the magic happen for the candidate.  One day Stephen gets a call from Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the head of the other campaign.   He wants Stephen to abandon ship and work for him. 


Stephen passes on the offer but doesn’t tell Paul.  This starts a downward spiral of intrigue with both camps questioning the motives of the other side.  Added to this mix is a very young intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) who is attracted to powerful men.  She instantly becomes involved with Stephen. The other major ingredient is Ida (Marisa Tomei), a reporter looking for a story that will set her above the pack. All of the elements build to a very unsurprising reveal and how that reveal affects every character in the movie.  The film plays more like a big budget soap opera than a taut political thriller.   


This has been quite a year for Ryan Gosling.  He has had some serious acting roles of late and this is another part that will put him on a very short list of A-list actors.  In every scene he just demands attention.  His character is one who will destroy anything and anybody to get what he wants.  He is a young actor working in the prime of a stunning career. 


Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei all have small but effective parts in this giant tapestry of cinema.  Each has proved more than once that they deserve all the accolades delivered.  With such a giant talent pool, it almost becomes a horse race of who will rise above the fray and take charge of a scene.


Perhaps the biggest find of The Ides of March is young Evan Rachel Wood.  Her Molly is one of the more complicated roles in the work and the young woman gives an emotional reading in what is basically a very cold picture.


That is the basic problem with The Ides of March.  It is deathly cold.  No one really cares about any character on the screen, there is no emotional resonance with any role.  That falls squarely on the shoulders of director George Clooney.  This is par with all of his other directing efforts.  Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Leatherheads and Good Night, and Good Luck are all films that George has directed and none have had a true spark. 


The Ides of March is an interesting film, but not a great film.  There are few surprises and by the time the last reel spools, no one is shocked by the supposed shocking ending.  It is much more that ‘there’ than a movie that is a must see event. 








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