The Ides of March (2011) directed by George Clooney
The world of politics is a dirty messy game where virtually nobody comes out unscathed. At least this is what I learn from the news and the movies. Scandals, backstabbing, and intrigue are all part of the process. The Ides of March focuses on the days before the important Ohio Democratic primary where idealistic press secretary Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) tries to get stuff done for his candidate Mike Morris (George Clooney). Stephen says all the right things to people, that he believes in his guy, that he can make a difference, that he is different from everyone else, but by the end of the film you wonder if Stephen ever believed that. Does he only believe in Morris because he thinks he can win and thus further his own ambitious career or did he ever really believe all those things?
Things get complicated for Stephen when the opposing side's campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) tries to get him to join their team. But does Duffy really want Stephen or is he just using him to screw with Morris's campaign? Everybody has their own agenda in the film. Stephen goes through some growing pains in this campaign, which is only in the primaries. By the time the film ends, he has graduated the the big leagues and is ready for the the presidential election. The closing shot of an extended close-up of Gosling's face is a perfect and chilling ending to the movie.
The film is superbly acted by everyone throughout. Gosling has the lead role and as in Drive, he excels in shots of reflective silence. He is surrounded by a superb supporting cast which includes Clooney, Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. I wish Giamatti and Hoffman were given more screen time though because they were captivating every time they were on screen.
Anyways, I don't really have much to say about the movie. It is well acted and while the story isn't the most earth shattering, it is enough to hold my attention until election time rolls around next year when the real drama starts to happen.