Ides of March Review

This is another good opportunity to remind everyone that political comments on this blog will be deleted.

Life in Ohio during an election year can be terrible, especially if you have no love for politics or politicians.  Just a few hours ago I threw out three fliers, each one making vague threats about what the opposing candidate will do to ruin the country.  Candidates throw in a tremendous amount of money into Ohio primaries and elections, because Ohio’s larger population, its status as a swing state (and traditionally the belle weather state, though that is starting to change as the country is beginning to change demographically) means that Ohio plays a large part in determining who wins a presidential election.

It should not be surprising then that the film Ides of March takes place during an Ohio primary vote, during which a young campaign manager is working to bring Governor Morris (played by George Clooney) into office.  Yet, it is not surprising that the people of Ohio play almost no part into the film itself.  After all, politicians never really care about Ohioans, they just want us to vote them into office so that they can forget about us for four years.  (I’m sorry, do I sound bitter?)

The plot of the Ides of March is a bit slow; in my opinion it takes far too long to pick up steam.  However, the highlight of the film is not the story but rather the actors themselves.  The film is jam packed with great actors, young and older (don’t think any of them are “old”) giving their characteristically brilliant performances.

Ryan Gosling is simply wonderful as the young campaign manager Stephen Myers, filled with devotion for his candidate who goes on a journey which ultimately cost him his soul.  The scene at the end is truly chilling, and reminds me of the end of The Godfather.  (Don’t ask me about my business Kate.)  Patrick Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti also give wonderful performances as seasoned, crafty campaign managers, willing to do anything to win.  Evan Rachael Wood also gives a wonderful performance as a flirty intern with a dangerous secret.

I also appreciated the fact that George Clooney tells the story of a Democratic primary.  George Clooney is a democrat, and if he had chosen to tell the story of a Republican party, that would have seen preachy and manipulative, as in “Look at how bad those people are!”  However, because he tells the story of a Democratic primary, the seedier elements of the election and campaign seem more like honest reflection of and openness about human weakness.


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