Thursday, October 13, 2011

Movie with Abe: The Ides of March

The Ides of March
Directed by George Clooney
Released October 9, 2011

Ryan Gosling is a young actor with a promising future ahead of him who has already deliverd an impressive number of strong performances, in films such as “Half Nelson” and “The United States of Leland.” It’s fitting, therefore, that he should play a character with similar success in a different field, a political advisor already high up in the campaign of a governor for President. It’s hardly as serious a role as that he had in films like “Blue Valentine” and “Drive,” but a step up in terms of drama from the lightness of “Crazy Stupid Love.” He plays the part effortlessly in a film that’s good and engaging but not without its flaws.

“The Ides of March” is best categorized as a political drama. Its focus is on its characters, but the dynamics of campaigns and mutually beneficial relationships are strongly featured and emphasized as well. Clooney plays the role of Governor Mike Morris, the Democratic presidential candidate who seems almost impossibly liberal and committed to changing the way government works. Morris is still a supporting character, and this is really a story about his staff, the opposition, and the political world. It may not be anything breathtakingly new, but it’s still a captivating and genuinely interesting movie.

What distinguishes “The Ides of March” most from a forgettable film is its cast. Led by Gosling and Clooney, the ensemble is enormously capable. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti play marvelously mean rival campaign managers, both with a considerable lack of patience and a desire to make the other miserable. Evan Rachel Wood shines in a supporting part as a young intern on Morris’ campaign, and Marisa Tomei humanizes a reporter fed stories by Gosling’s Stephen Meyers. Together, it’s a tight group of actors that help make these well-defined characters all the more believable.

The film itself is in no rush to reach its climax, but, fortunately, the plot doesn’t drag. At first, it seems rather generic, but there are clever twists hidden along the route to the film’s end, and plenty of dynamic character interactions and transformations. The story feels important during the body of the film, but its impact doesn’t stick or linger as long or effectively as it should. It’s a compelling, unexpectedly entrancing take on morality, politics, and doing the right thing, even if it never quite achieves the greatness that its bold advertisements and premise might suggest.


1 comment:

Yossi said...

Just saw this the other night,and I agree with your review for the most part, though I probably would have given it a B+.