The Ides of March

The Ides of March (George Clooney, 2011)

In my attempt to catch-up on the films of 2011 I've missed, this George Clooney picture was very high on my list. Plus it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

This political drama that depicts American politics with a superb cinematography and "mise en scène" that revives the greatest political dramas of the 1970's sure gets your interest. At some point I thought I was discovering a Alan J. Pakula film that I haven't seen.

The duality between Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) and campaign worker Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) are vast and their ambitions even bigger. I won't spoil any twists of the plot but let's say that politics isn't the trade of good men. Even with the campaigns and the public images the subterranean of this world isn't very clean.

The plot evolves around the fact that we begin with the illusion of the perfect candidate and the right man to govern the "greatest" country in the world. However, as we dig deeper and deeper the men involved in politics are send there with an obsession of power and control. It is interesting to watch how the plot slowly evolves and takes us places we would haven't guessed it would go. Instead of showing democracy as the greatest thing since sliced bread it demonstrates how much mud and crap a candidate must pass through to obtain the ultimate votes.

This ensemble cast leaded by a capable but sometimes maladroit Ryan Gosling is excellent in its whole and to see Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, and Paul Giamatti is a great happening that its director only could have assembled.

All in all, this is Clooney's best directorial effort with Good Night and Good Luck, and the context of a future Presidential election was a nice moment to release a somewhat "cynic" film like The Ides of March. One must admit that it was probably an attempt to get more Oscar nominations at first. The producers must have been disappointed to only get one with this good but not great political film. Moreover, it is also interesting to watch who really pulls the strings of power...

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