Monday, October 10, 2011

The Ides of March

An idealistic campaign politico (Ryan Gosling) backs a presidential contender (played by George Clooney) and finds himself immersed in a world of double-crossing dirty politics and in a morass of moral and ethical dilemmas. This is a nail-biter of a political drama, as poignant a commentary on contemporary politics as Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men or Michael Ritchie’s The Candidate. It can be taken as both a condemnation of today’s political and electoral system and as a cautionary tale about how and where we place our political trust.

With writing, producing and directing chores, Clooney, nominated for an Oscar for directing Good Night and Good Luck, delivers a smart, well-paced movie that shines with a cast that includes Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a crafty career campaign manager, Evan Rachel Wood as the intern that catches Gosling’s eye, Marisa Tomei as a New York Times reporter working all the angles, and Paul Giamatti as the man who throws the wrench into the works. And that wrench breaks things down. And not just a campaign, It brings the characters in this film, great and small, to a point where each must reconcile his or her ideology and integrity with what it takes to win. Few films serve as a conversation starter as well as this one, particularly given today’s abrasive political climate. After seeing this film, place yourself in the shoes of each of the movie’s main characters and ask yourself, what would you do?


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