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The Ides of March: A film review
It’s always been my opinion that when it comes to politicians, what they say, what they intend to do and what they will actually accomplish are never the same thing. Can you really trust someone whose convictions are not to stand for their own beliefs but to represent the views of the nation? And in a nation so divided in their beliefs, how can they even pull off embodying all perspectives on how to run a nation, what is their own agenda in getting the positions that they chase? The 2011 film The Ides of March best embodies my view of politics and is definitely one of the better dramatic thrillers to be put out in the last ten years, although I do use the word thriller very lightly, don’t expect to get your heart racing from this film.
The film stars a fantastic acting duo of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, although we don’t see too much of Clooney in the film since he also directs. This is the fourth film Mr. Clooney has had the pleasure of being both in front of the camera and behind the lense. I would consider it his second best film so far, right under his masterpiece Good Night and Good Luck. The film’s plot revolves around the relationship between a young speechwriter (Gosling) who discovers the dirty aspects of politics while working on the campaign of a politician who may have a few skeletons in his closet (Clooney). The major flaw with the film is its pacing – the beginning starts off very slow but then picks up with an intense velocity once it hits you with the main conflict a third of the way through. So if you’re at first bored, be patient because the film really pays off with a fantastic second act. Clooney gets great work from the rising star Gosling, while Clooney himself has a scene of top-grade acting that is most likely to be the most sinister portrayal he has ever embodied (you’ll know what scene I mean). There are also great side performances from respected actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood. The film relies heavily on a well-crafted script and the deliveries of the actors, so don’t expect it to be very visually stimulating with its bland cinematography. Enjoying the film doesn’t require an interest in politics but it would enhance it. Fans of good drama and conflict should find all they need with a plot centering around truth, ambition, power, control and loyalty.
If you like this film check out other politically centered dramas such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Clayton, All the President’s Men, Dr. Strangelove, and Emir Kusturica’s Underground. So as the Presidential election approaches, be sure to go and contribute your grain of sand that will make up the beach that is the voting polls. Pick the lesser of two evils; never forget that politicians wear two faces and power is the opiate of the corrupt.