The Ides of March

The Ides of March ★★★★

The Ides of March has really grown on me and I think it is one of George Clooney's best directorial efforts. Of course, it has an all-star cast (Ryan Gosling shares a riveting scene with Clooney and with Philip Seymour Hoffman that just absolutely suck the air out of the room) and Clooney is as classy as always behind the camera. But the film also does an excellent job portraying the brutal nature of the political "game" by showing how hard it is to hold onto your individual beliefs while being successful.

It also explores the differences between the public and private personas of candidates. George Clooney plays a candidate for the presidency. However, his character largely exists in this film as a figure we see on television or behind the bright lights of a stage. We only get a few glimpses of the "real" person and can never get a grasp for who he really is. It begs the question, do we really know who we are getting with these candidates? Are they people with ideals and beliefs or are they a construct of carefully tailored soundbites written by a team who are paid to get them elected any way they can.

Not only does The Ides of March explore these themes with a fascinating look at running a presidential campaign but it is also a highly entertaining film told with a great restrained and formal style. It all centers around Ryan Gosling's fascinating character journey where he is essentially a completely changed person by the end (I love how similar yet so different the first and last scenes are). My only issue is that the plot can stretch a bit of credibility with all the backstabbing and bombshells going on (who knows, maybe every is 100% percent realistic), but the script is so tight that it pulls it off gracefully.

2011 | George Clooney

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