I Saw A Film Today… The Ides of March

America is a place of political unrest at the moment (although there really never was a moment of rest really). Personally, I’ve always been rather private about my political views. For one, I’ve never witnessed anything good come out of an argument about politics. And I’m not saying if you asked my opinion on Michelle Bachmann or The Tea Party I wont tell you it (they’re both more than ridiculous by the way). Truthfully, politics is not something I quite enjoy on any level. But I do quite like the occasional political drama from time to time. And The Ides of March has both George Clooney and Ryan Gosling in it. So far things were looking pretty good.

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Mike Morris (Clooney) is the Governor of Pennsylvania who is currently making a run at the top seat, the president of the United States. And he has some really good ideas about how to improve the United States. He also has a crack team of people behind him like his manager Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Stephen (Gosling), his junior manager. Everything is looking good for Morris as long as he can defeat his fellow democratic opponent, Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell). The clincher for both men: the endorsement of Senator Thompson (Jeffrey Wright).

But Pullman has a pretty good team of people as well as evident by his cunning manager, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti). One day Duffy gives Stephen a call to have a meeting where he tells Stephen that they have Thompson’s endorsement and to join his team. Stephen refuses the position but is initially resistant to tell Paul.

When he finally does, Paul isn’t happy and eventually fires Stephen. But Stephen has something big on Morris that only he knows. Big enough that it would put Morris out of the race instantly. So what is Stephen’s game plan? Will he turn on Morris? Or will he spill the beans to a New York Post writer (Maris Tomei)?

I had real high hopes for The Ides of March. But I left the theater with a “been there, seen that” feeling. Sure, cleverly your perception of each character changes as the film progresses. The plot is engaging and thick with lies, betrayals, and a Machiavellian plot twist. But there really wasn’t anything particularly original about it. The Evan Rachel Wood story line (spared from the review to minimizing spoilers) is the only thing that I haven’t seen before. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist somewhere else.

For the most part performances are great, however brief some of them are. Ryan Gosling is fantastic coming off my newfound respect for him after his performance in Drive. In some scenes his icy cold demeanor could be felt coming off the screen (which is nice considering the theater was rather warm). And surprisingly I quite liked Evan Rachel Wood. Her performance is quite natural and smooth.

You would think a movie that stars George Clooney would actually have ole’ Georgie boy in it more than twelve minutes. The idea of Mike Morris is more present than the man himself, which is rather intriguing in a way. Either way he does a great job. And like Clooney, most of the rest of the supporting cast is pretty good, just have a minimal presence.

I liked The Ides of March. It poses some interesting questions about our political system and the ending is rather poetic in a way. But I also think… is there anything here that would warrant purchasing a ticket instead of waiting for its rental release?

Verdict: RENT IT!

*Rated R for Pervasive language.

**Poster by Aaron Koh

Comments? Opinions? Leave them below.

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2 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today… The Ides of March”

  1. This is entertaining even if suspense barely builds and pay-off revelations come with little surprise. Clooney, as a director, is also able to draw-out amazing performances from this whole ensemble cast. Solid review Kev.

  2. nevertooearlymp Says:

    Good review. I think I enjoyed it a bit more than you did, but mostly because I got caught up in watching the characters go bad and turn on each other!

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