Verdict: 4 / 5
Political journalist Theodore H. White once wrote, “With the end of the nominating process, American politics leaves logic behind.” This is precisely the theme that dwells deep within Ides of March, a clever, cut-throat political melodrama/thriller, based on the play Farragut North by Beau Willimon, which gives insight into back-stabbing U.S. politics. George Clooney proves once again, with his fifth director’s seating, that he is an extraordinary talent both in front and behind the camera.
“I’m not a Christian. I’m not an Atheist. I’m not Jewish. I’m not Muslim. My religion, what I believe in is called the Constitution of United States of America”. These are the opening lines uttered by the chief strategist, Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling), the top aide to Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), a charismatic Politian who is running for president.
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The story opens in the battleground state of Ohio during the Democratic primary season, the last big hurdle on the way to the White House. Myers is taken under the wing of the governor’s campaign manager, Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who introduces him to the ugly ins and outs of politics. Along the way the two face-off a revival candidate Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), who works equally hard to win the presidential race, cleverly playing the two against each other.
Stephen’s faith in Morris and American politics is put to the test when he discovers a few shocking hidden truths. Soon the backroom becomes an increasingly hostile environment in a political chess game.
Ultimately, Ides of March is a film about moral and justice, two themes well worth exploring. And while it remains highly cynical, it never feels heavy, mostly due to the performances of the terrific cast.
Gosling has top billing in Ides of March. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating; Ryan Gosling is proving to be one the greatest talents in Hollywood today. A quick glance through his Filmography and you will realize that he has a faultless resume. Ides of March is yet another worthy title to add to his list of A grade movie achievements.
The Ides of March is a solid though-provoking film. Both Gosling (actor) and Clooney (actor/director) deserve equal credit for its success. It’s well directed, well written and highly entertaining. Guaranteed to have you hooked until the final credits roll!