The Ides of March (Rated R)
Starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei
Directed by George Clooney
Plot: An idealistic young man gets a lesson in dirty politics when he goes to work on a presidential campaign.
While the buzz on this film has been pretty positive, I left the theater feeling unsatisfied. The Ides of March is a good film with great performances. I was expecting a great film.
Ryan Gosling is Stephen Myers, an up-and-coming political strategist who is working with Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to get Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. They are up against a rival candidate and his analyst played by Paul Giamatti.
Stephen’s primary reason working for Morris is that he believes in him. He has an ideal version of the candidate and the man. That image takes a beating as the movie goes on, and Stephen finds himself at a crossroads with his career, as he is used by Giamatti and Hoffman like a chess piece. Stephen is ultimately forced to decide whether or not he’s ready to play with the big dogs.
Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei give decent performances, but they are both given little to do. Wood is an intern who gets caught in the middle of a scandal, and Tomei is a reporter covering the election. Gosling and Clooney are both amazing. Gosling continues to grow as an actor and gives his third great performance (see also Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love) in the last few months. Clooney just exudes charisma onscreen. He’s a talented enough director, but his home is definitely in front of the camera.
The real powerhouse performances come from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti – particularly Giamatti — who probably stands the best chance to see an Oscar nomination from the film. Hoffman is a character driven by trust, while Giamatti is almost the exact opposite. It is their machinations that drive the plot. Combine this with Giamatti’s performance in Win Win, and he’s turned in some of the strongest work from a male actor this year (of course, he was also in Ironclad, so that proves he’s not perfect).
Ahh, the plot. This is where the movie falters. The dialogue is strong, and it’s a smart film. Unfortunately, while the first half of the movie is an intense and realistic look at life behind the debate podiums, the second half goes a little off-track and never really feels realistic to me. The ending just left me feeling like, “That’s it?” I wanted more resolution or a better resolution.
The Ides of March will go down as a decent political drama. It had the potential to be so much more.
The Ides of March is playing at the Cinemark Movies 12 in Ames. For the remainder of it’s opening week, you can catch the film at 4:15 pm, 6:55 pm, and 9:35 pm. Remember, showtimes are subject to change, so make sure you log on to Cinemark.com for the most current information. If you live outside the Ames area, Fandango.com can list theaters and showtimes near you.