On one hand, you have a tense political thriller. On the other, you have George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. So The Ides of March is a win-win situation for movie night.
Gosling really is flavour of the month. And well-deserved, which you know if you’ve seen Blue Valentine. Here, as idealistic staffer Stephen Myers to presidential candidate Governor Mike Morris (Clooney), there’s no doubt that his talent is genuine.
Clooney’s performance, as always, is superb. He fills out the role of the slightly cocky Morris as well as he fills out a suit. Even more impressive is that he directed and co-wrote the film.
But then come the best supporting actor nominations. Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman as opposing campaign managers are the best there is. Marisa Tomei is very good as Ida, a political reporter doing her job but without the rose-tinted glasses, delivering one of the killer lines of the film. When wide-eyed Stephen tells her he has never seen a guy like Morris, she replies: “it won’t matter.” The more things change, the more they stay the same?
But the movie is not just about fantastic performances – although when was the last time you came away from a movie blown away by the acting alone? – the film itself is one of the best this year. The script is tight and thoroughly modern. It’s a crash course in political trickery, games and sleaze, with questions of ideals and loyalty thrown in.
If you’re wondering what the ides of March are (what, you haven’t checked Wikipedia?), it’s the date when Julius Caesar was assassinated, and a fitting reference to the issues of betrayal and fate that you’ll remember this movie for.