Top positive review
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It's not personal. It's just politics.
on October 29, 2011
Mao Tse Tung said: Politics is war without bloodshed. War is politics with bloodshed. Ides of March proves the truth of this.
In George Clooney's more recent movies, he has become an acting chameleon moving with the deftness and surefootedness of a mountain goat, winning five Academy Award nominations and one Oscar for Syriana.
Up in the Air I considered good though overhyped, the thriller The American, brilliant but underhyped. A personal favorite. I particularly loved his collaborations with the Coen Brothers, the onscreen chemistry with Catherine Zeta Jones in Intolerable Cruelty, and the epic reimagining "O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Widescreen)"Ryan Gosling, I consider to be perhaps the greatest actor on the planet. Nearly every movie performance he has given has been nominated for some acting award, even though many of the movies were not mainstream. Have you heard of Half Nelson, for which he got Oscar nominated? He starred in Crazy Stupid Love / Un Amour Fou WS (BILINGUAL) also starring Marisa Tomei, earlier this year, and did an amazing job.
Ides of March may be described as a political thriller, and if you're like me it will certainly grip you and have you on the edge of your seat at times, with its twists and turns.
Ryan Gosling plays a campaign assistant manager, who works for Paul played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and both work for Governor Morris, played by George Clooney, a man with eyes on the presidency. Paul Giamatti plays a veteran campaign manager for a rival politician. Evan Rachel Wood plays a young intern who gets sucked into the intrigues, and Marisa Tomei plays a hardscrabbling reporter always looking for dirt to dish. In fairness, though her methods may be dubious, she is seeking the truth.
Ides of March, and its characters portray every shade of dark, and you may wonder how something as innocuous as agreeing to meet a rival for a drink in a bar can become such a potential disaster, and how going on a date with an intern when you're single can lead to such complications. Certainly Stephen Myers (Gosling)is left to wonder how minor personal actions can have such potentially dire personal political consequences.
I have to say the story is brilliantly constructed and told, and as you might expect with a political movie, it contains tons of sound bites. We all know that politics can be quite dirty with lowdown tricks and negative campaigning, but I don't think you have seen anything quite like this except in real politics. One persons pain becomes another persons political gain.
I loved the setup and payoff of the opening and closing scenes. As the movie opens Gosling cynically delivers sound bites to camera. The movie closes with sound bites to camera.
Early in the movie he has passion for his work, and says he wouldn't do it if he does not have faith in the candidate. Will he stay true to this when his values are challenged?
I loved the confrontations between Gosling and Hoffman, Giamatti, Tomei, and Clooney in different scenes.
I loved the sexual tension in the early scenes between him and Evan Rachel Wood.
I loved the the contrast in this character who in some way cares, offering an intern in trouble a ride to and from a place, even helping her out of his own pocket, and then making the hardscrabbling choices he makes, as the Darth road beckons, and romantic ideals can disappear faster than a political friendship.
While the movie does not scream surefire Oscar winner it certainly yells, and I think Gosling will get nominated perhaps even win, particularly after being so cruelly overlooked last year for his brilliant turn in Blue Valentine. George Clooney wears three hats as actor, director, and cowriter, and who better to play a smooth politician. Hoffman and Giamatti as usual are brilliant. Either or both could be nominated. In fact you will see few movies with such a strong ensemble this year, with three Oscar winners on board.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope you found this review helpful.