The Ides of March
Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood
Directed by George Clooney
Rated R for pervasive language
Set in the world of a fictional presidential campaign, Ryan Gosling plays an idealistic head staffer working under George Clooney’s presidential candidate who comes to terms with the fact that to survive in politics, one must not only play dirty, but must lose their integrity as well.
Before anyone even saw this film, many were ousting this project as liberal Clooney propaganda. At first I could see the merit in the argument as Clooney’s character seemed like an ideal leader in many ways. Sure he was liberal as all get out, but he seemed to be a man who would be a true servant of the people who would act out of the country’s best interest. But then the stuff hits the fan and you find out what all of the characters are made of and the unfortunate truth and accuracy about our current political situation is unleashed. The movie ends up being both negative for democrats and the entire political system in general. It leaves you with a sense that our system, on both sides of the rail, is broken and there is a good chance that it can’t be fixed.
I mention all of this up front because I firmly believe that even though there is a good story here, the most important aspect of this movie is its message, whether positive or negative. The reality hits home and gives almost as much of a bad taste in your mouth as our current situation.
As for the actual movie, aside from its intention, this is a very well written, directed and acted pic. Adapted from the Beau Willimon play, “Farragut North,” the characters are all very well flushed out and convincing. Every member of this extremely talented cast turns in noteworthy performances. The great thing about a cast like this is that then they are at the top of their game, the result is impressive.
The screenplay is a winding ball of tension, deceit and tragedy, making the politics that much more believable; and Clooney’s storytelling keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wait patiently for the upcoming lie and the next spin.
Although the film is very likely to leave you with a sick feeling as it punches you in the gut, it also manages to entertain you while shelling out the unfortunate truth (or at least the perceived reputation) about the people that run our country. A-