"“It’s an intelligent and intellectual piece of filmmaking, not lowering itself to the archetypal Hollywood drama…”"
If, like me, you are somewhat tentative about seeing a political drama surrounding US politics, then don’t be. Ides of March is an unambiguous, thrilling production that kick-starts the guessing games for Best Picture nominations at next years Academy Awards.
Written, directed and starring George Clooney, this is a film that has his directorial stamp all over it. Since entering the world of directing, Clooney has made some politically thrilling films, and this is one of his finest yet.
He plays the Governor Mike Morris, running for the Democrats, vying for a shot at the presidential election. As he fights to claim Ohio – the candidate has more on his plate than just the campaign, as he has to deal with a series of conflicting and potentially damaging occurrences.
On his campaign team he has the most promising, idealistic staffer in the business, Stephen Meyes (Ryan Gosling), alongside him the experienced Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). The campaign is going well and success seems imminent, but when work experience girl Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) catches the eye of both Mike and Stephen, things begin to get nasty as the internal relationships take a blow – as well as the campaign.
I had feared initially that the film would be a straight up campaign movie, as we follow a typical good versus bad story, with good coming out on top at the end. But fortunately that isn’t the case at all, and instead deviates from the original plot, and focuses much more on the individuals and the relationships between characters.
It’s an intelligent and intellectual piece of filmmaking, not lowering itself to the archetypal Hollywood drama. There is much we don’t see – there are insinuations, and discussions, and various important moments that we aren’t shown, perhaps somewhat of an indictment into the relationship between the political world and the public.
And despite the strong performances across the board, including the ever-impressive Paul Giamatti as Tom Duffy - the opposing candidates campaign manager, Gosling, just as he continuously seems to do at present, steals the show completely. The star, who just seems to be getting better and better with every feature, has an incredible knack of hogging the camera, regardless of who else is in the scene – quite a feat when starring alongside Clooney.
He just exemplifies coolness, with a terrific deliverance of dialogue – so well that surely Tarantino has taken note by now. In fact, Clooney might want to be careful casting Gosling in his films – because this a man ready to take over the helm from the ageing performer, as the coolest male actor in Hollywood.
Complete with a strong soundtrack by pioneering composer Alexandre Desplat, it enhanced the patriotic, political edge, with a marching drumming sound eminent throughout.
It’s yet another master class by Clooney, as this fictional depiction of the political system in the build up to the presidential vote is equipped with scandals, treachery, and indignation. Just like I said - a depiction of the political system.