Young campaign staffer Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) wholeheartedly believes in the power of politics and democracy. He believes that if the right candidate can make it to the Oval Office, the power can be restored to the people. And he truly believes that the candidate he represents (George Clooney) is the man to make it happen.
Because he exudes charm and conviction, Stephen is a wanted staffer by every other political candidate. Stephen is married to the campaign and doesn’t have to play dirty – or so he thinks. After making one seemingly innocent bad decision, Stephen’s world is turned upside down. Not only is the dirty nature of politics brought to light, but he’s faced with having to suffer the terrible consequence of his bad decision or get his hands dirty and play like everyone else.
Although ‘The Ides of March’ begins with heavy political mumbo jumbo that may leave the non-political savvy behind, that period is brief. Before long, it all becomes clear and the thrilling drama places its emphasis more on the characters than the politics they work in. Not knowing politics in great detail, I can vouch for the film’s easy consumption for all audiences.
Trailers make ‘The Ides of March’ out to be a Clooney-driven picture, but in reality it’s Gosling’s story. Clooney plays a necessary character, but it’s more of a supporting role. I don’t say this to discredit Clooney at all, but rather to emphasize how great Gosling is. He carries this film like a seasoned long-time actor. Surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Evan Rachel Wood, it’s hard for this film to do any wrong.
Clooney also gives a great performance, but even stronger than his acting is his directing. It somehow slipped past me that ‘The Ides of March’ was a Clooney-directed picture until the closing credits. Yet throughout the film, as I noticed how great the directing was, I kept asking myself, “Who directed this picture?” Upon realizing that it was Clooney, I wasn’t surprised at all.
‘The Ides of March’ is one of the most awards-worthy films of the year so far, featuring some of the most noteworthy filmmaking all around. It’s definitely one you shouldn’t miss – even thought it may make you a political cynic.