This is glossy, conventional film-making and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Ides of March is a smart, political thriller that never condescends. The film’s “polish” simply delivers a serious film in an attractive package.
Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is the junior campaign manager for the democratic presidential candidate, Mike Morris (George Clooney). Ahead in the polls, things are looking very good for Morris. Meyers is a damn fine operator, seemingly capable of adjusting the alignment of the planets to get Morris elected. He is also an idealist but unfortunately that part doesn’t last. It’s not long before a series of events embroils him in dirty political tricks.
As well as being in the film Clooney, impressively, takes writing, directing and producing credits. While his character looms large, it’s really man-of-the-moment, Gosling’s film – at least on screen. However, Gorgeous George’s self-casting is spot on. He is well-suited to playing the “The Next President of the
” – honest and direct, likeable and unflappable - all these qualities at least indicated by his public persona. (I’d certainly vote for him.) Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the campaign manager and Paul Giamatti as his opposite backing Morris' competition. These two been-round-the-block characters are played with relish (and unsurprising accomplishment) by two of the best character actors in the world. While their outlooks are very different, I couldn’t help but think how capable they’d each be at playing the other’s role. Young padawan, Evan Rachel Wood beefs up her already-impressive CV, further proving that she is not intimidated by actors of the heavyweight variety. Notable mentions to co-writers Beau Willimon (on whose play the film is based) and the “undiscovered talent” that is Grant Heslov, director of the brilliant and criminally-underrated The Men Who Stare at Goats. United States
But to get back to Clooney – he’s doing what
was doing in the seventies - not only is he making his films thought-provoking, he’s making them look good. Hollywood