The Ides of March Review

By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 8 out of 10

Films involving politics are always a mixed bag.  Often, the film is either too complicated or long winded to maintain the attention of the audience.  That is why when a film manages to enter cinemas that is not only entertaining but engaging, attention should be paid and accomplishment should be recognized.  The Ides of March is a strong film that is powered by its all-star cast, strong script and intriguing plot.

Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is the mastermind behind the presidential campaign for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney).  Working under his mentor, Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Meyers soon gets swept into a web of conspiracy and corruption after he starts a relationship with Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), an intern on the campaign.

Putting Clooney, Gosling, Hoffman and Marissa Tomei in the same cast is one way to immediately get a film noticed.  One impressive piece of this film from the outset is how well Clooney can be while helming a film.  The story begins to pick up not even seven minutes in, after you are quickly introducted to all the characters before throwing all of them into the fire all at once.

Meyers is the center of the film.  Early on, the audience can tell that Meyers is in the campaign for the right reasons, not attempting to gain personal affluence, but rather showing that he has true faith in the candidate, that he strongly believes that Morris can cause change in the country.  Things start to go downhill once he begins to have a relationship with Molly, played very well by Wood.  She is the daughter of the head of the Democrat National Committee, and as a result holds some weight on her own.

All the characters in this film are so complex and well-rounded that we should expect multiple nominations come awards season.  By far the winner is Gosling as Meyers, but a close second goes to Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Zara.  There is no one in Hollywood at this time and age that can play so many dimensions of characters than Hoffman.  Seeing Moneyball just a few weeks ago (read the review here), I saw a complete change in how he personifies a character, and as always, Hoffman truly impressed me.

The plot of the movie centers around the idea of corruption, leverage and power, and it is entertaining to see where the power shifts throughout the film.  Early on, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) holds the power as he tells Meyers information that puts a major dent in Morris’ campaign, while offering Meyers a spot on the rival’s campaign party.  Later on, Ida Horowicz (Tomei) holds the power when she blackmails Meyers about his meeting with Duffy.  Where the power falls in the end of the film is not only shocking, but enticing to see what this character does when given the ability to change the campaign with one action.

Twisting and turning, The Ides of March is unpredictable and will keep you focused on what is going on for the characters onscreen.  You start to develop feelings towards these characters, and by the end of the movie, none of the main characters emerge unscathed.

For those that have never liked political dramas, then The Ides of March will not be any different.  Although this is one of the better political dramas, some of the dialogue is heavy-winded and for those looking just for a fast-paced and non-complex film, this will definitely not be the film for you.  For those who can understand and comprehend the motions on the screen, prepare to be rewarded with one of the most tense and engaging films of the year.

The Ides of March is a complex, highly entertaining film.  The cast is top notch, the script is solid and the film is definitely memorable.  Painting a near ideal picture of the inner workings of dirty politics, any fan of political thrillers, Ryan Gosling and George Clooney will love this film.  This is one of those movies that will make you think for a long time after you’ve left the theater, and is one of the better films this year.  Expect The Ides of March to get more press around awards season.

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