The Ides of March (2011)

The Ides of March
Director: George Clooney
Writer: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle
Part of: Viennale

Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is one of the PR guys for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) who is running for president. Even though Stephen is young, he is rather experienced and his career is definitely on the rise, while at the same time he managed to retain some idealism. He honestly believes in Mike. Mike’s campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the experienced, jaded counterpoint to his idealism. But even though they make a very good team, things in politics are never easy and only get trickier.

I was a bit worried since I’m usually quickly bored by these politics plots. I’m just not that interested. But the cast is an absolute dream come true, and Clooney really is a very talented director, so I still had hope. And my hopes were completely justified. It’s a brilliant film.

[That poster kinda freaks me out.]

The movie really wasn’t boring, not even for a single moment. Even for somebody like me who doesn’t much care for these kinds of stories. But since the script is excellent (the cast could have had a worse script and would have still been worth seeing) and George Clooney has an excellent sense for pacing, there’s never any danger of boredom.

And I know that you’re probably sick of me drooling about Ryan Gosling already, but he really can do aynthing. In this case, he plays a character that you like so much that you want him to lose, since winning would mean the corruption of his idealism and, ultimately, character. That’s a pretty hard act to pull off, but Gosling does so with absolute ease.

But Ryan Gosling isn’t the only great actor in this film. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are great with their respective smackdowns. With every bit more of Evan Rachel Wood I get to see, I like her more and it’s always nice to see Max Minghella. (I expect future goodness from both of them.)

The only thing that could have been better was the pretty blatant lack of female characters. There are only two women in the movie who get more than a cursory glance and both spell trouble for our protagonist. And neither actually gets to be in politics. Wouldn’t have hurt to have more.

Before I finish this post, I have to mention the wonderful soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat. Because it’s great, as pretty much everything Desplat does.

Summarising: Definite Oscar-bait, and very worthy.


    • I’d say it’s a must-see for you, too.

      And the lack is definitely realistic, but I don’t think it would have taken anything away from the movie to be unrealistic in that aspect and it would have been nice to see the world as it could be in that regard. If you know what I mean.

  1. Yes I know what you mean. You could definitely have a women in a man’s world (or even several women) without ruining the atmosphere.

    Your ponderings made me think of “Alien I” with Ripley (who was written as a male character first) – I think they did a great job for a 70-ies film, depicting her as full of integrity, not afraid of conflict and yet still crying (while thinking about how to kill the alien).
    You should give it a feminist re-watch. ;)

    • You know, I recently downloaded all the Alien movies to give them a re-examination, so that should be coming when I find a pocket of time.

      And in fact, most if not all of the roles in Alien were written in a gender-neutral way, and it was only with the casting that they actually got a sex through the actor who was cast for them. Or at least, that’s what I read somewhere. :)

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