The Ides of March

This latest film by George Clooney is a clever little film about political shenanigans in a tough Democratic primary contest. Clooney plays Mike Morris, a middle left governor looking for the nomination. In the days immediately prior to the Ohio Primary (which seems to be critical), he’s jockeying for position against a hard left opponent.

What’s nice about the film is that there’s really nothing Democratic about it. The mechanics of the story would work if this was a Republican primary, or even a general election. It’s not about Morris, or his views. It’s about the process of election, and the people who really do it: the campaign staffs.

Ryan Gosling is the idealistic boy wonder media guy who is so talented (even at so young an age) that he’s recruited by the manager of the opposition (Paul Giamatti) which causes Morris’s manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to doubt his loyalty. Toss in an opportunistic reporter (Marisa Tomei) and a comely young intern (Evan Rachel Wood) and you’ve got a pretty amazing cast.

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about the film. Power corrupts? Really? I hadn’t heard. But a couple of decent twists, and a sort of snowballing of pressure on Gosling’s character leads to an ending that I would say is very real while also being very depressing.

Let’s just say I’m glad I never went into politics.

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