The Ides of March (2011) – George Clooney

What a depressing proposition is George Clooney’s The Ides of March. It tells the story of a junior campaign manager (Ryan Gosling) who learns that his candidate (Clooney) is a little less than he seems. We don’t see that, however, we see a man who seems on the up-and-up. “He’s the real deal,” says Gosling to a jaded journalist (Marisa Tomei) early in the film and we’ve had a few characters discuss how smart Gosling his so we assume Clooney’s the real deal too. The Ides of March is two movies. It starts as a gripping and smart political inside look in the vein of Primary Colors or a meaty episode of the West Wing and then it becomes a melodrama, and a cynical one at that. People behave in ways we’ve been trained to think they would not and it gets ugly very quickly. I’m not naïve and I don’t need a hero but who am I rooting for exactly in The Ides of March? Why set up a story about a underdog candidate who doesn’t compromise and can make a difference if you’re then going to just bury him as another politician and more than that, propose that those who believe in him are fools and will soon see the error of their ways? If it were the system or others that caused the downfall that would be something but all the characters make their own mistakes and fairly obvious ones that we’re left with just a terrible taste in our mouths. Information is presented to us in a strange way that makes it difficult to discern the motivation of certain characters. I like the political stuff, very much, and would have liked to seen much more of that, but the movie, like most candidates, should stick to the issues.

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