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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ryan Gosling
George Clooney
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Paul Giamatti
Marisa Tomei
Evan Rachel Wood.
Directors
George Clooney.
Screenwriters
George Clooney
Grant Heslov
Beau Willimon.
Running Time
100 minutes

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The Ides Of March
Let’s walk and talk...


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Plot
Idealistic Stephen Myers (Gosling) is a true believer working for Governor Mike Morris’ (Clooney) Presidential bid. But his relationship with campaign volunteer Molly (Wood) and machinations between rival campaign managers (Hoffman, Giamatti) show him the candidate in a new light, embroiling Myers in a dangerous game of sex, betrayal and ambition.


Review
The Ides Of March
Well, you might think, who better (or more likely) than George Clooney to produce, co-write and direct a cool, sophisticated drama set against the backdrop of an American Presidential primary season, and to play a smart, articulate, polished and electable candidate for the White House occupancy to boot? To an attractive, beguiling extent, The Ides Of March — adapted from a play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon, himself a former staffer to a Presidential hopeful — lives up to the considerable Clooney rep. It is at face-value a mature, thoughtful, intelligent thriller with some meat on its bones, handsomely crafted, with a big-ticket ensemble cast. And a little sex. It’s smart and ambitious, but burdened by the weight of its own worthiness.

And then, at the same time, on closer inspection and despite its Shakespearean allusions in the big themes (the Ides Of March, of course, being the date Roman conspirators ended Julius Caesar’s imperial ambitions), some of its plot points are either as implausible or as predictable as those you could expect in any shiny Hollywood drama of ambition, backstabbing and party-politicking. Ryan Gosling’s Myers is acknowledged to be young for his key position in a serious but telegenic state governor’s campaign to become the Democratic party’s nominee in the next Presidential election. As Morris’ press secretary he’s spokesman, speech writer and advisor — kind of Josh, Sam and C. J. from The West Wing rolled into one well-tailored charmer. Despite his youth, he’s supposed to be practically a genius at working the media, whether schmoozing a seasoned political reporter (Marisa Tomei) or conceiving soundbites to hook Joe Six-Pack. Yet this ultra-savvy political animal is as naive as a starry-eyed schoolboy.

An incident in which Myers shows poor judgment and succumbs briefly to a temptation that appeals to his pride backfires on him, setting off a chain of back-room betrayals. Discovering a flaw in his candidate’s character the idealist overreacts like a mentally unstable fanboy who has been shunned by the object of his obsession. It’s taken him until now to become disillusioned and also to discover politics is dirty? Huh? The depth of his sudden betrayal marks a turnaround of almost unfathomable dimension, excused away with the line, “Revenge makes people unpredictable.” Ruthlessly crazed, too, apparently. And then on top of these bothers, not to give anything away, the story involving Evan Rachel Wood’s delicious, precociously smart-alec intern (who also undergoes a personality reversal to rival Dr. Jekyll’s), given that she is the daughter of a very powerful man, seems tied off too neatly and quickly in this paranoid, investigative age in which nothing even a teeny bit potentially scandalous is let go.

Most political dramas tell us that, gee, a candidate of any stripe and his entourage make compromises to get elected, so there are no great shocks in that line. But then, this is not intended to be so much a political tale as a Faustian one, in which the young protagonist is actually dangerously good at what he does best and sells his soul to keep doing it, ideology and integrity be damned. Aaah, he’s all grown up and cynical! The quality of the cast and the direction are superior. The content, more average.


Verdict
Entertaining while you’re watching it but, as deceptive as a party’s election promises, there’s less to it than meets the eye.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Ides Of March
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Ides Of March

Great ensemble cast. I don't usually go for Political based films though this one definitely held my attention. Praise should be given especially to Clooney for playing down his role and creating a slick, very well polished film. Beautifully shot with great performances. I highly recommend this film to anyone who may have missed it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rich Empire at 19:19, 04 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

I'll be honest I found this film boring for the most part... Perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind that night to enjoy it, but I just didn't feel gripped enough by the storyline or connected with the characters. That said I did rate Ryan Gosling and George Clooneys acting, but this still wasn't enough.. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by yazoo88 at 11:14, 19 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

A slightly darker, slightly sexier cinematic answer to 'The West Wing', although arguably not as good. Still thoroughly engaging although you can't help but feel Mike Morris is George Clooney's political puffpiece. 4/5 ... More

Posted by Goodfella at 21:55, 17 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

]4/10 The Ides of March: slightly predictable, a surprisingly dull political drama, far from best political thriller ... More

Posted by m_er at 04:04, 31 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

I was eagerly anticipating this, but in the end it felt like there wasn't really much there. I liked the performances, and Clooney handled the drama well on a scene to scene basis, but it just felt undercooked and a little dull, the whole intern business. We've seen it before so many times, and the tension of the acting kept implying that the story would go somewhere new or exciting. I have no problem with small scale drama, slow burn stuff, but here it just didn't work. I didn't really have en... More

Posted by King of Kafiristan at 17:40, 20 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

Kind of agree with most of the above. The film is better than the review suggests but I couldn't help feeling that the storyline would have been better served over an entire series of The West Wing as some narrative threads (Molly for instance) feel too rushed towards a dramatic conclusion. Great acting throughout though and a nice ambiguous ending. Plus, I enjoyed the fact that my overwhelming feeling on leaving the cinema was that Clooney really really hates politicians. 3.5 out of 5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:27, 07 November 2011 | Report This Post


Has something underneath

The film is deeper than this review suggests. Did you not see Gosling's face in the last shot? Surely that raised some questions as to his motives for his so-called 'Faustian' journey.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Joey71 at 11:48, 03 November 2011 | Report This Post


I think this review misconstrues the point of the film somewhat. The criticism of the overly neat resolution of the Rachel Evan Woods storyline for example is unfair - that particular plot strand is a catalyst for activity and character development elsewhere, not a stand alone story line in and of itself. Likewise the accusation that Gosling's character Stephen MEYERS is unbelievably naive. Meyers starts the film by saying that he'd do anything for the right candidate - he's not some wide eyed i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bennington13 at 15:37, 30 October 2011 | Report This Post


Fair review, but it gets an extra star

It's more enjoyable and well-made than this review seems to let on. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 17:28, 29 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

I saw the film today too, and enjoyed it enough. Think its Gosling's least interesting performance of the year though, with Blue Valentine his highpoint and Drive an interesting diversion. Great to see Clooney back on directorial form tho, after the dire Leatherheads. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 23:47, 28 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Ides Of March

I saw this today and while I enjoyed it for the most part, there didn't really seem to be an ending. It was kinda like it just ended without a plot resolution or climax. Ryan Gosling was very good in it and along with Drive I wouldn't be surprised if he's nominated for an Oscar. ... More

Posted by jollypiratedonuts at 23:32, 28 October 2011 | Report This Post


Good but should have been better....................

Thought the movie was good overall, obviously Gosling as usual is always getting better with every movie he's making but what really annoyed me about the movie is the fact that it lacks a killer punch to really take you aback by the storyline which I thought was good but Clooney & Heslov's screenplay should have been near to a two hour running time to really pull the punches in this good film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by umer_ejaz at 19:08, 28 October 2011 | Report This Post


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