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The Ides of March

The Ides of March: Exquisitely Acted Political Drama

  • Evan Rachel WoodGeorge Clooney...
  • Drama
  • Out now
  • George Clooney
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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The Ides of March: Exquisitely Acted Political Drama

Stephen (Gosling) is a charismatic, young politician working as a junior
campaign manager for Governor Morris (Clooney). Morris’ team, headed by his campaign
manager Paul (Hoffman), work around the clock to clinch the vote in Ohio
against a rival democratic senator. If won, this would pretty much guarantee
Morris a nomination as the democratic presidential candidate and a large
possibility of top White House jobs for both Paul and Stephen.  

While The Ides of March may be
actor/director/screenwriter/producer George Clooney’s passion project, but
acting-wise this is Gosling’s film and he’s phenomenal. His character starts
out as an idealistic believer in the power of clean politics, whose core is
rocked when he discovers that everyone he’s surrounded by is corrupt in one way
or the other. Completely shaken, he finds himself morphing into one of the
pack, playing dirty with the best of them.

The film is pretty engaging despite the amount of dialogue and the
stodgy subject matter. For the most part, the plot is pretty straightforward,
though there are some details that may fly over the heads of the less
politically inclined. However, Stephen’s transformation should be more than
enough to keep everyone interested, in addition to the small romantic arc
between him and Molly (Wood). The Gosling/Wood pairing is electric. They
crackle on screen together, play off of each other perfectly and are a joy to
watch. Wood does a great job, despite being given an underwritten and inconsistent
character, turning her character into the most human of all the politicians and
her scenes with Gosling the most memorable of the entire film.

For
a film that’s very specifically about American politics and that doesn’t tone
down the political lingo, it’s surprising how entertaining it is even for those
that may find politics boring. The editing and pacing lend the endless phone
calls and meetings a sense of urgency that conveys how all consuming these
things are in real life. They also keep the film zippy and prevent it from
sagging under the weight of all the suits and ties. And while Stephen is
probably the only truly fleshed out character, the cast is populated with some
excellent actors that make their characters interesting.

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360 Tip

Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Pine were considered for the role of Stephen, which eventually went to Ryan Gosling, while Philip Seymour Hoffman replaced Brad Pitt as Paul.

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