The Ides of March

The Ides of March ★★★★½

Film Thoughts #140 The Ides of March • Directed by: George Clooney • Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney and Philip Seymour Hoffman

A second watch will definitely be needed down the road to confirm, but this is the most pleasantly surprised I’ve been by a film in a long time. 

It may not be Ryan Gosling’s best performance (not that it’s bad at all, quite the contrary) but damn this is undoubtedly one of his best characters. The arc that his character undergoes from quick witted but naïve to jaded and power hungry speaks to the way American politics fuels ambition and turns good men (and women) into desperate, cutthroat and conniving individuals. Nobody on Michael Morris’ campaign I has bad intentions, in fact, he is shown to be THE candidate that will bring on the betterment of American society. But the system, or is it human nature, wins out in the end and greed comes crashing down into the forefront. 

Of course, everything has changed in the 9 years since this film was released. We’ve delved so far into bipartisanship that a candidate with 26 sexual assault allegations can get elected because he’s “real” and “not like other politicians”. But even then the film comments on how issues, while an important to a political campaign, are secondhand to a combination of backwards dealings and moving chess pieces. 

It’s thought provoking and well written, marvelously acted by a fantastic ensemble and wrought with twists that keep its audience constantly guessing whilst remaining in the sphere of possibility. It’s gonna need another look, but I believe George Clooney struck gold big time with this one. 

Grade: A