"All the reporters love you. Even the reporters that hate you still love you"
The Ides of March is a political thriller set during the Democratic Primary in
in which Governor Mike Morris (George
Clooney) is running for the Party’s nomination for President. His team includes
Campaign Manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and young up and comer
Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling). Myers is convinced that Morris is the man to lead
the country but receives a tempting job offer from rival Campaign Manager Tom
Duffy (Paul Giamatti) which opens up a torrent of problems for all involved. Ohio
The film is full of twists, turns and surprises and kept me glued throughout its fairly short 101 minutes. Clooney’s Morris felt like a Candidate too good to be true to me, being pro choice, atheist, pro alternative energy and with plans for free college education. He was a candidate with the sort of policies that appealed to me. To be honest, knowing what I do of American Politics, his platform felt a little unrealistic but I’d vote for him. As well as a candidate I was on board with, the film kept my interest up as I never knew which direction it would turn next. It felt like a good episode of The West Wing crossed with a crime mystery.
The ensemble cast was excellent. Clooney was every bit the Presidential Candidate but took a back seat to Ryan Gosling who is the central character. He felt a little too young for the role but that was one of the facets of his character and he seemed to nail the super intelligent, analyser which a real Campaign worker would need to be. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti got a couple of chances to spa against each other and that was a highlight. Evan Rachel Wood was also very good as an intern. She could have been swallowed up by those around her but held her own. Clooney’s direction shows great promise and I look forward to see where he goes next.
The film shows you an insight into who really runs a country and the ins and out as to how they get to their position. It’s a fascinating study of behind the scenes of Politics and had me gripped. I realise as someone with a Politics degree I might be in the minority of people who finds this stuff interesting though and my girlfriend soon turned to sorting out photos even though Ryan Gosling was on screen. As someone who follows Politics closer than some, I’d have liked the film to go a bit deeper into the process and follow some of the twists a little further but obviously the deeper it goes, the more chance it has of alienating its audience. In the end I think it trod the line well.
Overall this is a tense and taught political drama which though offering little new was an exciting and interesting look behind the scenes and had a couple of decent twists thrown in. The cast were all excellent and the story, solid. I was gripped and you can’t ask for anything more.