Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: The Ides of March

Maureen and I were successful in our first Rush line experience of this year's festival, securing two seats to George Clooney's The Ides of March.  I had extra motivation to see this one because of high demands among my readers (or one reader, anyway) for Ryan Gosling pics.  Alas, George, Ryan and the crew were not in attendance.  It's a shame, because I know that George was in town, if he isn't yet still.

The movie, directed by Clooney, also casts him in a supporting role of a sitting state governor and presidential candidate, Mike Morris.  The story, though, was really of the political behind-the-scenes education of his press secretary, Stephen Myers, played by Gosling.  Rounding out the cast are Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, Morris's and the opposition's battle-tested campaign managers, respectively, and Evan Rachel Wood, a young intern on the Morris campaign.

Myers is idealistic, energetic, and has drunk Morris's metaphorical Kool-aid.  Throuigh a series of events and gamesmanship by the major players on both campaigns, Myers obtains a more realistic view of the world in which he's chosen to dwell.  If he is able to thrive or even survive, he may have to ditch his idealism.

Some of it may be predictable, though some surprises will certainly seep through on occasion.  Overall, the movie is fairly standard suspense fare, though made better than it may otherwise have been due to excellent performances from Hoffman and Giamatti.  I've grown to expect it - these guys are just fun to watch.

As a side note, we were both dismayed to have our vacation from American politics interrupted by this film, a vivid reminder of the constant ugliness in which we are constantly drenched back home.  Sadly, I can't print a line of dialog spoken by Gosling's character in the film, as it contains a major spoiler, but for me it is a sad truth of American politics and what is important to the public.  Stupid scruples.

The film has strong performances from the entire cast and the script and production are solid, even if there's no new ground broken.  If for some reason you feel like you haven't gotten a strong enough dose of political figures dumping on one another, this movie should serve you well.  My imdb rating: 7/10.

Maureen's notes:  The Ides of March page on imbd.com is missing a principle cast member.  Jennifer Ehle, who is a big name in BBC circles, played Morris' wife.  She is missing from the cast list as of now.  It seems like an odd oversight on what is considered one of the best sources of film information available. ... Although I feel Giamatti and Hoffman steal the show from the leads, George Clooney has again thrilled many female fans by signing autographs and posing pictures as long as his handlers will allow.  We have heard from fans and some industry folks he is as good of a guy as he is said to be.  Oddly, we also heard the same about Woody Harrelson.

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