‘The Ides of March’ Delivers the Chill of Political Corruption

by | Oct 17, 2011 | Culture

idesofmarch2The Ides of March is a
well-executed but unoriginal drama that features an incredible cast and serves
as a coming out party for Ryan Gosling’s status as a major leading actor. What
this movie lacks in originality and creative writing, it more than makes up for
in the acting and directing, making it one of the best dramas of the fall movie
season.

Gosling (pictured here with actor/director George Clooney) stars as an
up-and-coming political staffer who gets corrupted while trying to win a
presidential election. Again, there’s nothing groundbreaking about the plot
(really, politics can corrupt people!?), but when you throw in George
Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and a
surprisingly good Marisa Tomei, every scene becomes a pleasure to watch.

Gosling is in every
scene, and he’s magnetic. There’s no overacting here. When he starts having to
make the morally questionable decisions, you can tell he’s torn, but it’s
underneath the surface. He knows his character and makes him believable in
every scene. After breaking out with The Notebook and then working his
considerable talents on a number of indie films for the last six years, it was
time for him to step up to the plate with a leading role in a mainstream
Hollywood movie. Combined with his charismatic, hilarious performance in Crazy,
Stupid, Love,
it feels like Gosling is finally hitting the big time in
2011, and it’s good to have him.

The funny thing is that
Gosling is overshadowed in a number of scenes by Hoffman and Giamatti, who
absolutely kill their roles as rival political campaign bosses. Watching these
guys chew cigars while dishing political barbs is an absolute joy. Tomei and
Wright get limited time but make the most of it, and Evan Rachel Wood gives a
compelling turn as an intern on the campaign.

I haven’t even
mentioned Clooney yet, and that’s because his role as the seemingly perfect
politician almost comes as an afterthought in this movie. Clooney actually did
much better work directing The Ides of March than acting in it. He plays
down the glitz of politics in favor of the gritty details, which works well
given that the film takes place almost entirely in Ohio. This is not Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington
, and that’s a good thing. If you’re looking for
solid, well-acted drama to see, you can’t go wrong with The Ides of March.

Content Watch:
Not for the kids. The movie features pervasive language. There is no nudity,
but the film deals with mature subjects, including abortion.

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