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Review: Ides of March- Too Big to Fail…Right?

Posted October 11, 2011 by Max in Review

I get the feeling that ‘Ides of March’ would like to consider itself as being witty for highlighting political corruption for the movie going masses; however, anyone interested in this film, already knows that corruption isn’t new to politics. ‘Ides of March’ seemed poised, with great brush strokes, to paint a political picture both riveting and informative at the same time; unfortunately, it comes off as something ‘The West Wing’ did (and better, might I add) years ago.

Ides of March’ stars Ryan Gosling as Stephen Myers, an ambitious young man who believes the candidate he campaigns for, Governor Morris (George Clooney), is his ticket into the White House. Myers  is of a new generation of political power and prides himself that he can greatly improve the chances of any candidate he works with given his charm and personality, unfortunately, what he has in natural talent, he lacks in experience.

Myers works together with Governor Morris and Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as they are trying to win the Democratic primary. Their competition is Senator Pullman and his campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti). Duffy has been in politics a long time and knows his candidate is on the ropes, thanks to the work of Zara and Myers. Duffy knows how to use his experience in the game of politics and a simple phone call is all it takes to start the ball  rolling.

With the distraction of the campaign in full swing, who has time to worry about things like interns? Unfortunately, throwing yet another inevitable wrench into the campaign machine is one of the young interns who has had her eye on Myers and easily finds her way into his bedroom. Molly Sterns (Evan Rachael Wood) is the daughter of a high-ranking political figure who thinks she has the talent to make it in politics. What Molly will come to understand is that she has already made a mistake that she and even her famous daddy won’t be able to fix.

The cast is packed to the rafters with talent. From the aforementioned cast members, not to mention Jeffrey Wright and Melissa Tomei, it seems everybody wanted to be part of George Clooney’s third directorial effort. Those who have seen ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ will notice some shots that Clooney has trademarked. While not necessary to the picture as a whole, the one shot that instantly comes to my mind as a Clooney element   would be the use of musicians singing skilfully into their microphones as a segue; this and other  elements are where ‘Ides of March’ can be seen as neatly corresponding to its two other predecessors.

With the potential for political intrigue, incredible Hollywood star-power, and the feeling that it was almost too big to fail, ‘Ides of March’ could have been the film to beat this Oscar season.  Although ‘Ides’  featured both a new directorial effort from George Clooney and man-of-the-moment, Ryan Gosling the storyline  left me feeling unfulfilled.  In reflection, I tried to extract something I liked about the film (after all, my mother always taught me to look for the bright side in life) and I found that Gosling’s Myers might have grown as a character in that he learns that politics doesn’t play by the rules and that ruthlessness and callousness are essential for success. Overall, ‘Ides of March’ doesn’t present anything new from a plot perspective (from fishy politicians to femme fatale), but if you’re looking for a well-acted political thriller you could do far worse.


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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.