Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Ides of March (2011)

See? Democrats can be nasty also

During the frantic days before a heavily contested presidential primary, up and coming campaign secretary Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) battles for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) in the race to win the Democratic presidential nomination. When the opposing candidate's campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) offers Stephen a job on his staff, Stephen neglects to inform his campagin manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman). As his silence is revealed, Stephen uncovers a dirty personal secret which could sink Morris' political career.


Before I start my review, I feel that I should make a confession here. I am not big on political films. This is mainly due to me not following politics. I will occasionally check in with the news during elections for Presidents or Prime Minister's, but be it in my country or in the USA, it just does not interest me enough to keep up with at every turn. It is through that which, by an extension, I do not feel too interested in political films. Although I did like Milk, but that was more of a biographical film than a political film. You're probably wondering why I saw this film if I wasn't too interested in political films. The reason is pretty much due to the cast, filled with the likes of George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, they're the ones who convinced me to give this film a go.

Stephen Meyers is an up and comer, fighting for what he truly believes in, and what he believes in is Mike Morris' campaign. Ryan Gosling's performance shows once more why he is an actor to truly watch out for, as he manages to act very well against the likes of Clooney and Seymour Hoffman. In fact, in a film full of great performances and utterly believable chemistry, it is those three which manage to stand out extraordinarily well over the film's running time.

One slight niggle I had with this film was more personal, but since I do not follow American politics, a number of the phrases and terms which were used were lost on me, leaving me a tad confused as to what was meant. But as I said before, this is only a slight niggle, and it did not deter from my overall liking of the film. Besides, the sharp and smart dialogue which inhabited the film more than managed to make up for this.

Anyone else get the feeling not to go in an elevator with him?

Despite not following American politics, I must say, I found myself to be quite gripped through many of the scenes within the film, particularly the ones where Morris was discussing his political campaign whilst he was being televised. I believe that this was in turn due to many things,but many of these things are thanks to George Clooney, who gave off a tremendous performance, did a great job with directing, produced the film (as did Leonardo DiCaprio) and even had a hand in writing the screenplay. While commitment like that can be great and show how invested in the film one person is, it can also make the person too spread out and make everything go wrong, as evidenced when Tommy Wiseau did this for The Room, but thankfully, George handles each one of his many roles with this film to a great extent.

I found that an overlaying theme of loyalty seemed to resonate throughout the film, as many of the characters' decisions were brought to light, causing the loyalty that was believed they had with others to have been betrayed and broken. It was the use of this theme, to show not how loyal the people were, but how their believed loyalty to others was broken, which made this theme fit well within a film about political back-stabbing.

Clooney uses his direction to emphasize well on how the world of politics is filled with backstabbing and scheming. But while he does show this point across well, let's face it, it's not exactly an unknown truth that hasn't been covered before by Hollywood.

With an intriguing script, sharp dialogue, exceptional performances from a terrific cast, The Ides of March is a gripping political film that surprised me in how much I ended up loving it. Highly recommended, especially if you're not one for political films, like me.

4 comments:

  1. I thought it was alright. Performances were excellent, and Clooney's direction was pretty solid too, but I just found the script to be...uneven. I'm probably alone on this; most people seem to think this is a brilliant, genius film from 2011. I don't quite agree; although it was entertaining. I just wish it could have told me something I didn't know. Good work.

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    1. I will agree that it seemed to say nothing that people didn't already know. Thanks for reading.

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  2. I'm not one for politics or films of the such either, but not only have I seen the cover art advertised everywhere I look, but also it sounds interesting with a brilliant cast. I'll give it a look-see. Great, great review.

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    1. Cheers for reading, I hope you end up liking this film as much as I did.

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