The Ides of March

I’d been looking forward to seeing The Ides of March since it premiered at both the Toronto and Venice International Film Festivals. The Ides of March, written, directed and starred in by George Clooney is a political thriller also starring Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  This new movie is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat on a Friday or Saturday night with its twisted tale of dirty political intrigue. The Ides of March title refers to the political betrayal of Julius Caesar by his friend Brutus who was manipulated by Caesar’s enemies, the act of which led to Caesar’s assassination.

The Ides of March is based on the play “Farragut North” written by Beau Willimon who was also involved in the writing of the screenplay with George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

Newbie and green behind the ears Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is the idealistic young political aid for presidential hopeful, Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), a Democrat candidate who’s the perfect presidential candidate in the highly contested Ohio primaries. But betrayal, scandal and dirty political maneuvering threaten to bring down Governor Morris’ bid for power. A beautiful young intern named Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) who works for Governor Morris’s campaign hooks up with and becomes a momentary pleasure for Myers but he soon learns that she could become the scandal to bring down Governor Morris’ bid for the presidency.

Naïve but talented Myers is about to learn how dirty politics can become.  Even his boss, a clean and green Democrat presidential hopeful who espouses all the correct ideology on issues such as war, jobs, environmentalism and secularism, can also have a darker side. Myer learns not only the scheming nature of politics, but also experiences betrayal of the worse kind by those with a greater knowledge of the human mind and its workings. Meeting the opposition’s political campaigner Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) in a bar sets up Myer’s fall from grace. In this fall,  he will learn how highly the concept of loyalty is held by some working in this dirty game. But those more experienced in the game are no strangers to the true nature of man. He learns that those he sees as friends, such as two-faced New York Times reporter Ida Horowitz (Marisa Tomei), are not really best friends unless they can get something out of you.

At stake in Clooney’s film The Ides of March are questions of loyalty, honor and the notion of how a man acts which will define his true nature. George Clooney as Governor Mike Morris plays the role of presidential hopeful with subdued perfection – from idealistic, liberal ideas which mask the darker side in the persona of every man.

Ryan Gosling runs the gamut of naivety descending to depravity in his fall from grace with the emotional depth and excellence of what becomes a great actor.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Paul Zara) and Paul Giamatti (Tom Duffy) are compelling as aging overweight political campaigners, sustained on a diet of junk food and cigarettes, but wise to perfection in the art of the political “game.” Nothing surprises them about human nature and they know and play the game, political and evil though it might be. It’s just a job after all, with the goal of winning, no matter what the cost.

The Ides of March is a brilliant revelation of the dirty game of politics in America, or in any country for that matter, and as Clooney’s latest film title suggests, has been going on since the beginning of time.

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