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The Ides of March

Cast: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director: George Clooney

I've been meaning to write up a review for this but I don’t know where to start. So after numerous drafts, here it is: this is a misleading movie poster. Besides knowing that it’s a political flick, I don’t know much more about it. The local cable channel recently showed the movie and after watching it, I was caught off-guard. Not because of the plot of the film itself, but how the performances made it interesting. I tend to shy away from political films but this is a good one.

The film plot is ordinary in the political world. It’s about the involvement of a campaign manager into the scheming, strategical world that is called politics. Ryan Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, one of the brains behind the Morris (Clooney) campaign to become democratic electorate for presidency. His boss is Paul Zara (Seymour Hoffman) and they’re competing against Pullman, who’s campaign is headed by Duffy (Giamati). It really is just on the premise of how far will he go for his candidate. As a young shot, Meyers gets a first glimpse of how it is to play in the political game.

Ryan Gosling completely stole this film.  His performance was impeccable, the transition of his character was great. As the film hits a particular situation, there is also a gradual shift in his character, causing him to think of his next move. George Clooney, despite being the second name to appear on credit, was more of an accessory. He played the face that Gosling was supposed to defend. He gives a good performance as a candidate, but Hoffman and Giamatti can easily engulf his performance, making him forgettable in the film. This had a good cast working for them, they all seem to be fit for the role. Jeffrey Wright was underused in the film, only appearing in scenes to trigger the flow of events.

I like how the writers approached a political game. Usually, it would really focus on the politician itself, but this took a look at the teams behind the campaigns. I’m really not familiar with how the political game works in other countries but in general, it is messy. Campaign managers usually don’t take the spotlight but The Ides of March was clearly about the strategists of the teams. Because of the standpoint, it's not a grappling drama where the viewers are all seeing the events through the politician's eye, but more of the game being played by the people that are behind him. It's not even intense, but works on mind games and strategies.

The film is a good watch. The performances were great, Ryan Gosling was great. Same goes for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. There were some great camera shots. This was the first George Clooney-directed film I watched and he did a good job. It might not be at par with some political films but this is worth the recognition. 


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