The latter half of 2011 has given us quite a lot of Ryan Gosling and I am quite surprised just how little he was on my radar prior to September of this year. October sees yet another Gosling release with Ides of March.
PLOT: Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is an idealistic young political consultant working on the campaign of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) in a bid to have him become the Democratic nominee for the presidency. Stephen agrees to meet with Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) the campaign manager of Morris’ opponent and from there a series of events snowballs which leads to Stephen being fired from the campaign. Stephen must decide whether or not he is prepared to stick to his morals or get immersed in the dirty world of politics and get the man he once admired into the White House. END PLOT
The film is written and directed by George Clooney and whilst the plot is purposefully slow it still manages to be very engaging. The problem is the script wasn’t written by Aaron Sorkin, who is no stranger to political dialogue, and therefore it lacked the punch it needed to really lift the film.
Ryan Gosling is quickly becoming one of those actors who say very little but can portray so much with a look. If Gosling chooses his next couple of roles wisely he is suddenly going to find himself having a very respectable career indeed.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was very good as Stephen’s campaign manager Paul however Paul Giamatti stole the show as Tom Duffy. The way that Tom played, outsmarted and defeated Stephen was very devious and Giamatti does play an intelligent villain very well.
George Clooney is George Clooney in an over extended cameo. This is not a compliment.
Although Clooney’s script wasn’t as strong as the film’s tone required he didn’t fare too badly on the directing front. There were two exceptionally well put together shots the first being between Governor Morris and Paul.
This particular conversation takes place inside a car and although the audience already knows the outcome of the discussion the camera stays outside and we do not hear or see what is being said. I found myself trying to peer in through heavily tinted windows to get a glimpse of what was going on – there was no music at this stage so the tension was very high.
The second would be the final shot which ended with a voiceover from Morris speaking about integrity and honesty, the main themes of the film, with Stephen staring straight down the camera lens at the audience. I absolutely loved this moment.
Ides of March is such a slow paced film with all the drama taking place in a hushed manner that I fear people will either love it or hate it - I absolutely loved it and the film gets a very strong 8/10. That being said I do not think that Ides of March is strong enough for any Oscar nominations although with stronger scripting it may have stood a chance. If anything Ides of March solidifies the acting talent of those involved and by those involved I mean anyone who is not George Clooney.