Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Ides of March

Lowdown: Political backstabbing at the back of a political campaign.
Illustrious director (?) George Clooney (Good Night and Good Luck) is back with a movie that is similarly paced and deals with similar themes. Indeed, The Ides of March is a very Clooney film given what Clooney’s efforts as both director and actor have told us about the guy’s political standings.
Governor Morris (Clooney himself) is running for the USA’s Democratic candidacy. Morris is saying things every liberal (with a lowercase l) would like to hear, things like the need to prevent the extreme division of wealth between the rich and the poor by – amongst others – taxing the rich. Things like actually dealing with global warming through action. It all sounds great, it all sounds promising, but the reality is that everyone inside the political campaign - both Morris' as well as his competition - is quite cynical about it all. "That's what they all say to get elected", they say in one way or another. There is one exception, Stephen (Ryan Gosling): not only does he feel as if Morris may be the real thing, the honest politician, he's also considered the brightest talent in the field of political campaign runners. Thus he's at the helm of Morris' campaign, a helm he shares with Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman). What may pass as an ideally driven campaign to get the ideal candidate in office deteriorates into a campaign of constant backstabbing between all players involved when rival campaign manager Tom (Paul Giamatti) contacts our Stephen and asks to meet him. There is the female interest, too, in the shape of Molly (Evan Rachel Wood).
By the time The Ides of March ends we don't only know why Clooney chose this specific title for his film, we also witness how everyone involved gets contaminated by the political game at hand. Is all fair in love and politics? That's the question The Ides of March is begging to ask.
As with his that other film of his I mentioned earlier, Good Night and Good Luck, The Ides of March is not short on fine actors doing their fine acting. It is also not short on food for thought. However, just as with Good Night, March suffers from severe pacing issues that render it a fairly boring film to watch. It's a pity, because it is nice to see a genuine attempt at quality cinema coming from the USA; yet it errs far too much. It forgets a film's main objective is to entertain.
Overall: The Ides of March tries too hard to draw the sophistication card. It misses the mark at 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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