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Review for The Ides of March

Updated on January 31, 2012

The Ides Of March - Official Trailer [HD]

In “The Ides of March” Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is the ambitious Junior Campaign Manager for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) who is running as the Democratic presidential candidate for the United States. Senior Campaign Manager Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and Stephen Myers are attempting to gain Ohio's support for Morris, which would nearly secure his nomination. Morris is running against Arkansas Senator Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell) who is barely seen in the movie. His Campaign Manager Tom Duffy(Paul Giamatti) represents the republican side, opposite Hoffman’s character. Marisa Tomei also has a great role as Ida Horowicz, a saucy reporter for the New York Times, and throughout the movie proves to be an obnoxious thorn in Gosling’s side. Right off the bat, we can see that Morris is the ideal Democratic candidate. He is a devoted environmentalist and a straightforward secularist who dodges speculation about his faith by claiming that his religion is the U.S. Constitution. He is apposed to war and in support of the development of jobs, though the economy seems of much less value in Morris’ campaign than it would in a real one.

The film is based on the play “Farragut North” by Beau Willimon. Clooney directed and wrote the script with the help of Willimon. The acting is of course impressive, and there is even a few heated arguments between Gosling’s character and his fellow campaign colleagues when they are hidden from public view. Early on in the film Myers is seen flirting and eventually fornicating with a young intern named Molly(Evan Rachel Wood) that works on the campaign with him. Apparently Molly’s daddy is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee(Gregory Itzin). To make matters worse she’s carries a secret in her past that has the potential to send Myer’s career and the Morris campaign into turmoil.

The film is supposed to show what happens when personal feelings interfere with politics and it does a good job at that. I would have liked to see some presidential debates between the two candidates. It appears that unfortunately Mr. Clooney didn’t have room to include these types of scenes. Instead we see a dreary eyed Gosling fumbling around in a world of ruthless politicians, who might just stab you in the back at a moments notice. Fortunately for Myers he finally bucks up in the end and grows a pair. He finds himself in a position where he can get what he wants and he takes it.

Somehow, the film is missing both drive and humor. There are some hectic early scenes and a late turn towards a tragic happening. It makes its points discreetly and appropriately but doesn’t bring enough in the way of understanding or chance. Powerful men tend to use women and treat them little more than sexual objects; this is what we would expect from these characters. Reporters do not always get it right and may try to twist the story in one way or another. Politicians sometimes lie to gain favor with the masses. If any of this is surprising to you, then you may well find “The Ides of March” to be quite a shocking expose`. If like me, you find these plot twists to be predictable and grinding, then just focus on the excellent acting we see from the all-star cast, and don’t worry so much about how cardboard the story seems. Overall I would like to give this movie a four star review, but regrettably I’ll need to take it down to three. The acting effort was exceptional, the cinematography by Phedon Papamichael was pretty cool with the dreary gray skies and the musical score by Alexandre Desplat is definitely a plus too. In the end it kind of left me hanging there wanting more.


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      strandra 6 years ago

      Yes, Chris I's review is spot on and his last sentence leaves me wanting more from him and here it is - the movie's title obliquely connects with Brutus's betrayal of Julius Caesar, but the film cuts out Stephen's great speech - Clooney cuts the film at that moment and 'leaves it to the audience's imagination.' This old trick flops, I believe because Stephen's televised speech is a cinematic moment ripe for quick cuts to the faces of those involved in the conspiracy who would be reacting to his support or betrayal of Governor Morris/Clooney. So, this would fulfill Chris's 'wanting more.'

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      Husky1970 6 years ago

      I agree with your rating. Saw this last week and enjoyed it. However, it falls short of being memorable.