The Ides of March
THE IDES OF MARCH is a political drama set around the presidential campaign of Governor Mike Marshall (Clooney); it primarily follows one of his campaign managers, Stephen Meyers (Gosling), a young man who fights for what he believes in and what he believes in is Marshall. However, the waters become murky as he not only discovers the dark side of politics, but also that Marshall isn’t quite the hero he thought. Treading through an intricate plot, filled with secrets, lies and betrayal, Clooney has created not only an actor’s dream of a film, but once again proves his worth as a director.
With the title aptly referring to the day that Julius Cesar was betrayed and murdered, the film is set in a world of puppets, where there is a hierarchical web of strings controlled by the characters with the most important information. Toying with themes of loyalty, morality and fear, this is essentially the story of the dehumanisation of politicians in the USA, and indeed, the western world.
Stephen is portrayed as perhaps a little too naïve for the position which he holds; surely he has seen something of the darkness that now surrounds him during his rise to the top? In this way, there is also the sense that this is barely breaking the surface of the true world of politics, and by digging no deeper you are reminded that you are still watching a Hollywood film.
It is hard not to draw parallels between the Marshall and Obama administrations – especially with aspects like the almost exact replica of Obama’s ‘Hope’ poster, but with Clooney’s head displayed. This seems surprising considering Clooney’s support of Obama (in fact, the image on the ‘Hope’ poster was taken when Obama was listening to Clooney talking at a conference). One might wonder at Clooney’s identification with Stephen Meyers, and the betrayal he feels at the administration he once idealised.
This could be called a cast that boasts all that American acting can offer, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright. Certainly this cements Ryan Gosling as an A-list star and perhaps one of the best of this generation’s American actors – I’m sure this will gain him yet another Oscar nomination. Her role as the tragic Molly also positions Evan Rachel Wood on the brink of stardom.
An entertaining and thoughtful piece, not without its holes, but a joy to see on the listings at multiplexes as well as arthouse cinemas around the country. As well as that, Clooney is directing an interesting set of films; let’s see what comes next.
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