Movie Review: The Ides of March
Being a part of the latter half of a typical urban society that chooses not to vote not because I’m undecided but simply because I don’t care, I’m watching Ides of March for sexy characters and dark drama. With a title based off the killing of Julius Caesar by his own party, you’re just waiting for Ryan Gosling and George Clooney to get dirty.
The film begins with the perky spokesperson Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) preparing the stage for another Democratic primary campaign lead by Pennsylvania Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). The opposing team’s campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) acknowledges Stephen’s hungry attitude and threatens Mike’s campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) by suggesting a private meeting with Stephen to talk about switching sides. “Do you want to work for the friend or do you want to work for the President?” This stuff we expect. It’s politics. Based on Stephen’s starry-eyed affection for both Mike Morris and Paul Zara, you’d think they’d be a happy family and Mike would have no reason to go behind their back.
But there’s always a girl. We should all know by now that bringing a woman in a room full of men only spells trouble. Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood) is a twenty-year-old intern working on the campaign that seduces Stephen into a no-strings-attached bedroom relationship. The story unwinds around a deal with this guy Senator Thompson (Jeffrey Wright) and his 300-something votes which would bring their team in the lead. As Paul and Tom duke it out over the Thompson deal, Stephen’s idealized world of politics explodes in front of him, and then he finds out Molly’s involved with the Governor. This is the last bit of real information you get for the rest of the movie. Every little thing one person does creates a huge ripple effect, bringing in a thunderstorm of random circumstances. “This is the big leagues. It’s mean. When you make a mistake you lose the right to play.” It’s funny that Stephen says this to Molly when his one mistake is costing him the rest of his life.
Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei) plays a hard-headed, jaded New York Times reporter that further exemplifies the nasty things that go behind any political campaign. “Mike Morris is a politician. He’s a nice guy; they’re all nice guys. But sooner or later, he’s going to disappoint you.” It’s interesting how the females in this film are the ones warning Stephen about what happens in the real world while the men are just kind of steering him toward the winner’s circle without really letting him get their on his own. It’s thrilling to see Ryan Gosling’s attitude change so drastically throughout the film as he goes from an aspiring campaign manager to a disgruntled employee to the new campaign manager of a winning campaign. Ides of March is dark, dirty and dangerous in its dialogue, lighting and direction. A definite must-see, because let’s face it, we can’t resist anything with both Clooney and Gosling together in a film.