The Ides Of March
Director: George Clooney
Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Before I begin my review…..
As awards season creeps closer, I and most probably all the other film geeks out there are expecting to see an increase in the calibre of films.
Honestly, I was expecting The Ides Of March to be one of the big contenders this year. Killer cast, director and a storyline that has a world of opportunities. Although there were actually some aspects of the film which I believe are quite magnificent, I’m hoping there are some films which are nominated and are of better calibre than this otherwise it symbolises a particularly mediocre year in film. I’m not saying I am writing The Ides of March off as far as Golden Globes and Oscars go as weirder things have happened and I know my opinions are not shared by everyone out there.
However, Ryan Gosling….I feel confident in saying that he will get a Golden Globe and perhaps even an Oscar nomination for either Drive or The Ides Of March.
How about some more predictions while I am at it? Either Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady or Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn will win the Best Female In A Leading Role. I haven’t seen either of the films yet so I may change my mind once I see them, but judging by the small parts of the film I have seen they are forces to be reckoned with. Plus Streep is long overdue for her next Oscar win and Williams is due for her first.
But let’s talk about The Ides Of March,
The Ides Of March is the perfect example how you can have everything it takes to make a brilliant film, yet it can be the script that can completely let you down.
Although there are some magnificent things about The Ides Of March such as the cinematography and a power house performance by Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov’s screenplay slows down the film at an alarming rate to point where it is just a chore to sit through.
Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is running for President with a powerful team behind him which is led by Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) and Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Stephen dedicates his life to politics and is committed to seeing Morris win the presidential race. He sees himself working in the White House, whether it is with Morris or not. After a meeting with the opposition parties campaign manager, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) Stephen starts to wonder whether he would put his loyalties ahead of his ambition. Further complications arise with his relations with campaign intern, Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood) when she reveals a secret to him that changes everything.
The problem lies primarily with the screenplay. The story of The Ides Of March has so much potential. IT should be riveting and captivating. Yet nothing moves quickly in the film and it slows down the interest of the audience in return. It isn’t always a bad thing if a film is slow, but The Ides Of March has no suspense to it at all. Stephen’s situation in the film and the presidential race of Morris is worthy of suspense and the audience should feel the importance in their situations. However they don’t, it all just feels flat lined.
Clooney’s direction is a little inconsistent throughout the film. His choices of editing and cinematography have maestro moments and he brings out the best in his actors, yet he is partly to blame for the lack of suspense and urgency. The director should employ tactics to increases these features. Maybe he never knew they were lacking?
However, the cinematography is still very well done. One stunning image is of Gosling’s silhouette up against a huge American flag. So stunning it should have been the film’s official poster. The opening of the film is also visually stunning and very effective.
Ryan Gosling gives by far the most outstanding performance in The Ides Of March. He has such a range of emotions which he exhibits and his character has so many developments throughout the film. He goes from cocky, to unsure, to emotional, to broken and then back again. He carries the film so well and there is no doubt he is one of the best things about it.
Clooney directs himself well, but his performance is not one that goes above and beyond. His character doesn’t change at all throughout the film despite what happens to and around him. Philip Seymour Hoffman has some great moments, such as his hotel room discussion with Stephen.
Evan Rachel Wood is okay, but not entirely convincing in the part she plays. You never quite figure out what type of girl she really is. She is a bit of an enigma. Marisa Tomei is very convincing in her role as journalist, Ida Horowicz. She is tough, but actually likable.
Not the worst film you will see this year by any means, but not enough to cross the line into the land of films you will not forget.