Review: The Ides of March

Intrigue, suspense, betrayal, revenge: all in a day’s work in the political world. But it was done with great flourish in The Ides of March.

I’m not a great George Clooney fan (except of his face); nor do I think Ryan Gosling or Evan Rachel Wood are actors I’d count among Hollywood’s “beautiful people.” In fact, their faces kind of bother me. (Does that make me a bad person?) Still, they gave what I thought were honest and completely believable performances. And Clooney wasn’t really the star; that job fell to Gosling, playing a hard-working assistant presidential campaign manager who truly believes in the cause of the candidate (Clooney).

Early on, Gosling is told by a New York Times reporter/friend, “Don’t believe in politicians. They will eventually let you down.” He vehemently disagreed. He shouldn’t have.

Political films sometimes drag, but this one slaps your face at every corner. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, playing rival campaign managers. They can steal a scene by simply walking in and looking around the room. I make it a point to see every movie they’re in. Flawless.

Much of the film leaves you wondering what’s going to happen next. You end up in a constant state of analysis — coming up with “if/thens” and “I’ll bets.” When the final intent is at last revealed, it’s a whole new game, but you’re not sure if you want to root for the same people or not. Uncertainty, curiosity, commiseration, pulling for the underdog:  all in Clooney’s plan to string you along to the end.

Speaking of the end…it could have used some work, in my opinion. I think George settled for the tried-and-true as opposed to the let’s-kick-’em-in-the-gut-then-roll-credits approach. Still and all, a great Friday night treat. And the (very smart) inclusion of Giamatti and Hoffman in the cast was a most excellent bonus.

On the Rat-O-Meter scale of five cheeses, I give The Ides of March:

3 thoughts on “Review: The Ides of March

  1. BoomR

    Sounds like a good one to catch! I’m assuming that it was a NetFlix night for you? I’ve not really looked at what’s actually playing in the theaters in the last couple days….

    Reply
    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Actually, this was a video store rental. The title’s been on my Netflix queue for several weeks, and when I went to check it the other day, it said “short wait,” which could mean a few days or weeks! So I removed it from my queue and the Thriller went out to the vid store and rented it.

      You guys will like it!

      Reply
  2. Tom Hanks

    Wanted to see this but still haven’t. I agree with you about the presence of either Giamatti or Hoffman in a film. Punch-Drunk-Love is a great example of how Hoffman can elevate a film while barely being in it.

    I disagree about your favor of the looks of Cloondog over my number one Ry-guy.

    Is my heterosexuality still intact? No matter…just being objective haha.

    Reply

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