The Ides Of March Review

Where does it end?

A good looking, elder statesman in an elegant suit is making a speech to an assembled throng.

This is Governor Mike Morris, and he’s the idealistic candidate gunning for supremacy in the fictional democratic primary.

Only not in a Lee Harvey Oswald way.

But, as anyone with even a tenuous grasp of politics could tell you – i.e. me – it’s the men, or women, behind the man that turn him into a president.

Enter Paul Zara, Morris’ Senior Campaign Manager and Zara’s protégé Stephen Meyers.

And it is through Meyer’s eyes that we observe the inner workings of the political machine that whirrs and lies behind any electoral candidate.

With lies being the operative word.

Unlike his jaded superior Zara, Meyers is still young enough to be idealistic and carries the courage of his own political convictions accordingly; proudly declaring at one point that he doesn’t work for money, only what he believes in.

Coincidentally, there might have been a pretty little blonde intern in earshot of this particular soundbite, but I guess screwing your easily impressed younger colleagues is also something Meyers believes in.

I know I do.

Impressed with the way Meyers conducts himself, particularly with the media, Campaign Manager for the opposition Tom Duffy calls him up with an invitation that’s too good to refuse.

Meyers lets his curiosity get the better of him by attending this rendezvous, unaware of the consequences this act will have for everyone connected to him on Morris’ campaign.

The Ides Of March is a sharp, political thriller full of intrigue, double crossing and broken promises.

It’s a story that strikes at the heart of pressing issues in our modern political climate; that nobody is who they present themselves to be and you should trust no-one.

Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, the emotional principle we’re supposed to identify with on his escapade through the murky depths of any campaign’s game of political musical chairs.

Expanding upon his recent phalanx of leading man roles with a political spin here, Gosling is effortlessly convincing as Meyers as he wrestles with staying true to thine own self or compromising his beliefs to get ahead.

But The Ides Of March is most definitely an ensemble affair.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is outstanding yet again, enhancing his already burgeoning reputation as a character actor with another studied portrayal as Paul Zara; a harbinger of what might lie ahead for anyone who gets involved in the political game for too long.

Evan Rachel Wood plays the more confident than her years intern Molly Stearns with relish, and then there’s Gorgeous George.

Clooney acts, directs, co wrote and co produced The Ides Of March, and the greatest compliment you can give to a man who has so many fingers in this cinematic pie is that at no point does he make it about himself.

In fact, the lack of ego from the stellar cast allied to the witty and erudite dialogue ensures The Ides Of March is worth the wait.

Even though it’s five months early.

Jonathan Campbell

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October 2011
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