In "Ides of March," director George Clooney shows us a realistic view of the corruption behind a presidential campaign.
Like the Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the bulk of this film plays out as a tragedy. We are introduced to Stephen Meyers (Gosling), a staffer for a newly appointed presidential candidate, Governor Mike Morris (Clooney). Meyers shows much promise throughout each day outlining every speech, every suit, and every conference.
Politics is a game of deceit and ambition. One must be willing to make certain decisions in order to insure that your message and your plans are placed above all others to ensure your position in government. It’s a lesson our protagonist must find out for himself and a philosophy Morris, Paul Zara (Hoffman), and Tom Duffy (Giamatti) live by every day.
Like Caesar, one of Stephen’s character flaws is trusting in the wrong people. Determined to keep his job and to earn a position in the White House, he puts his trust in, if only for a moment, members on the opposing side. Once this decision is made, it marks a turning point in the film for Meyers.
Ryan Gosling is excellent in playing the ambitious young campaign manager. Gosling has a focus and drive that is unlike any of his co-stars, all of whom are talented actors. His approach to the character really adds to Meyers’ desperation and determination to put Morris in the running for the next president.
The chemistry between Giamatti, Hoffman, and Gosling is compelling. There are two scenes towards the end of the film that in which Meyers is having an argument with Zara or with Duffy that showcase the true talent in all three of these men. In regards to the screenplay, these scenes provide audiences with more character development in showing the lengths as to which Meyers will go, the cleverness of Duffy’s deceit, and Zara’s disappointment in Meyers’ dishonest decisions.
Although the plot weans for a while from Meyer’s schemes into his romantic endeavors, it’s a well-told and beautifully- constructed film. “The Ides of March” is a sharp, political drama that follows a young man’s gradual character downfall from being respectable to cunning stemming from the seed of one tiny, selfish decision.
Jim’s Rating: 9.7/10