Sunday, February 17, 2013

Film Review: The Ides of March

This one sat on my shelf for a while.  Any film where unabashed liberal George Clooney plays a character acknowledged to be based on Howard Dean in part, reasonably is viewed with scepticism.

I shouldn't have let it wait so long.  There is no real liberal agenda here.  In fact, it makes nearly all the liberals in their film, which all the characters are, distinctly unlikeable.  They are all backstabbing, cheating, lying, conniving, philandering scum.  You don't get a much more accurate depiction of American politics than that.

I also credit the film with depicting the pregnancy of an intern by the Clooney's married Governor and her resulting abortion with a decidedly ugly touch.  There is no discussion here of the life within the girl, the pregnancy is merely a political obstacle which must be overcome.  The handling of the abortion carries all the weight of taking care of a cavity--a shockingly honest depiction of the left's view of undesired pregnancies.

Clooney is excellent both in his supporting role as the governor/presidential candidate and the director of this film.  It is engrossing and brisk, coming in at one hundred and forty one minutes with few wasted frames.  There isn't much fluff here and the film is better for it.

Ryan Gosling fills the role of Stephen Meyers, a junior campaign manager for Clooney's Mike Morris is the focus of the film as he is used by both his senior manager (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and the opposing campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) to their own benefit as well as by Mike Morris and the pregnant Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood).  Gosling's character is skilled but naive and inexperienced in the underhanded dealings of politics.  This film is among the works that have driven Gosling to the top of the most wanted list for actors in the past year.  Between this film and Driver (reviewed earlier on this website) Gosling has put a couple strong entries on his resume.

The film ends with Stephen Meyers looking into the camera and about to go live with his own remarks on...something.  Is he just going to go along with Morris's cheating and abuse merely in the belief that his election "may" bring about the policies he so desires?  Is he really that cynical now?  Or is he going to torpedo the whole campaign by revealing the governor's indiscretions?  We never find out.  But the fact that I couldn't decide which direction the character would go left me feeling I had watched a properly complex and well done film

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