|Directed by:||George Clooney|
|Written by:||George Clooney, Grant Heslov|
|Cast:||Marisa Tomei, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Max Minghella, Jeffrey Wright|
An interesting and somewhat pessimistic view of politics can be seen in George Clooney's The Ides of March. The movie follows Ryan Gosling's Stephen Meyers on how he learns what politics is really about during a few days of Democratic presidential candidate's campaign. Meyers starts out as a believer; he works hard for the campaign, is second in command - behind only the campaign manager, and really believes his candidate can make a difference for the country. But he soon learns that politics is more than making a difference for others.
This movie was difficult to enjoy mostly because there really isn't anyone to root for. The movie is filled to the brim with politicians and the people who work for them. And as most of us know from watching television, politicians are really hard to admire. This movie does nothing to change that characteristic. Everybody in it is out to succeed, no matter who it hurts. I think this was the point behind the movie that politics is about ensuring that one person succeeds, no matter what the cost.
I think that point comes across pretty well too. No matter who you meet, it turns out their motives are not what they originally appeared to be. And you get to meet a lot of familiar faces: you've got Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, and of course, Clooney himself - who plays the presidential hopeful. They all do great jobs of playing sleazy and not exactly admirable characters in the short amount of screen time each has; hell, the movie itself is only 90 minutes long.
Clooney also does a pretty good job of directing. The movie flows along well, with some great camera shots and angles - I think he even tried throwing in a shoutout (or two) to Scorcese with some tracking shots. I thought the direction, as well as the cinematography, was especially sharp during of the final scenes featuring Clooney and Gosling where they meet in secret in the back of a restaurant kitchen.
The Ides of March accomplishes what it sets out to do: portray a cynical picture of politicians and what goes on behind a presidential campaign. Every one of the characters is pretty much a prick, whether they're like that throughout the movie or for some or most of it. If you hate politics and politicians, this is the movie for you. Just don't expect to root for a good guy because there pretty much isn't one.