The Ides Of March

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:George Clooney
  • Cast:George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Max Minghella, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright
  • Release Date:November 24, 2011
  • Distributor:Roadshow
  • Running time:101 minutes
  • Film Worth:$17.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Played out flawlessly by a superb cast, this thoughtful and compelling drama just misses out on top marks due to its slightly too-familiar screenplay.

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"Nothing bad happens when you do the right thing." Of course, doing the right thing is never as easy as it seems and Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is about to find out just how hard it is. He's the idealistic staffer to presidential hopeful Mike Morris (George Clooney), the guy who "is going to make a difference in people's lives". In order for that to happen, Morris has to win the state of Ohio and to do that, has to win the endorsement of Senator Thompson (Jeffrey Wright). But lining up these ducks is, to mix metaphors, as easy as herding cats with string. When an opponent (Paul Giamatti) takes Myers aside for a chat, the delicate house of cards begins to teeter before receiving a seismic shock from a rung-jumping intern (Evan Rachel Wood) whom both Myers and Morris know a little too well.

At the heart of this arresting film is power play, not only for the Presidency but by everyone involved in this adrenalin charged game of winner-takes-all. And at the heart of that game is the value of loyalty, something in which Myers' boss (Philip Seymour-Hoffman), gives and then receives a short sharp lesson. Heady stuff, as befits this extended episode of The West Wing by way of Barack Obama. And therein its weakness.

While The Ides Of March is a gripping feature positively oozing talent, notably the electrifying performances of Gosling and Giamatti, it never fully achieves its possibility. The disappointment, despite a titular nod to Shakespeare, rests in a script that has a seen-it, familiar quality; surprising given Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov previously created something quite extraordinary with 2005's Good Night And Good Luck. While the film is certainly entertaining and a step up from most workaday movies, the hand of truly gifted writing talent (Alan Sorkin where were you?) is missing. The Ides Of March is undoubtedly solid, thoughtful and frequently tense entertainment, but is one that somehow misses a vitality that would otherwise have you straining to Vote 1 for Morris.

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