Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Ides of March (2011)

Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Geroge Clooney.

Politics...down and dirty, cut-throat, kill or be killed politics; that is what the "Ides of March" is all about. The story takes place during the mid March Democratic Primary Election, in the battleground State of Ohio.  Stephen Meyers (Gosling) works as the press secretary for Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate, Mike Morris (Clooney.) Meyers is an idealistic liberal who wants to believe that he is working for a man who will bring real change to the country. He soon finds out that he works with and is surrounded by dirty politicians and their staff members who have become cynical and jaded by the hardball world of American politics. Myers is set up by the opposing candidate's campaign manager and then fired from his job.  Just when it seems like his career in politics is over, he uncovers a dark secret that will turn the tables in his favor.

A star-studded cast has Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti filling the roles of opposing presidential campaign managers. Evan Rachel Wood plays a pivotal role in the film as campaign intern Molly Stearns.  Co-written and directed by George Clooney (a well known left-leaning democrat), the narrative doesn't so much as focus on democrat or republican, as does the aspect of good-vs-evil in politics. Ryan Gosling has far beyond proven that he is a great actor. In the last two years he's had outstanding lead performances in "Blue Valentine" (2010) and "Drive" (2011.)  With award nominations and wins under his belt these last few years, I look for more great things to come from him.

An  interesting side note is that the term "Ides of March" dates back to the Roman Empire. It refers to the 15th (or middle) of the month when Julius Caesar was assassinated.  In the Shakespeare play "Julius Caesar", a fortune teller warns Caesar to "Beware of the Ides of March."

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