Starring; Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director: George Clooney
Running Time: 101 mins
The Ides Of March is an American film about a political campaign leader whose positive outlook on the presidential race is damaged after a tumultuous few weeks in the lead-up to the Ohio primaries.
I love a good, dark political thriller, and that’s exactly what The Ides Of March is. It’s not only a compelling portrayal of the world behind the faces of modern politics, but it’s an amazingly emotional and often powerfully dark story that will have you hooked from beginning to end, as an unpredictable and high-stakes story unfolds before you.
One thing that is that this genre does on a pretty consistent basis is give you an engrossing story only through the use of good dialogue, acting and directing. There’s nothing flashy about this film, and apart from its time period, it could have been made at any time in history, but the fact that it remains so compelling despite no glamorous features is testament to how well made it is.
For one, George Clooney’s directing is excellent. Good Night and Good Luck, another political drama made by Clooney was indeed interesting, but it came across as too factual and bland. Luckily, Clooney has learnt from that and with The Ides Of March made a film that not only tells you about the world of politics, but gives you a truly fascinating personal story to guide you through.
The one thing that Clooney brilliantly shows is how vulnerable the characters in this situation are. In politics, momentum and public opinion can swing wildly in or out of your favour, often overnight, and that’s so apparent here. Despite the clear competence of all of the campaign officials, Clooney gives the film a sense that there’s always something coming, as if everybody is on the brink of disaster, which makes it a brilliantly tense and compelling movie to watch.
And the unpredictability then lends itself even further to increasing the emotional power of this story. The film is centred around Ryan Gosling’s character, who finds himself going through hell and back as he prepares his presidential candidate for the Ohio primary election, and with that sense of drama and unpredictability, when things go wrong, they feel so much more important and devastating, thereby heightening the dark and powerful tone that the movie is going for, which was absolutely brilliant to see.
Overall, I was really impressed with The Ides Of March. It’s a dark and often brutally realistic portrayal of modern politics, but one with fantastic emotional power thanks to George Clooney’s expert direction and one of the best lead performances from Ryan Gosling, and that makes it a thoroughly compelling watch, so that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1.