The Ides of March

This is a blockbuster film with a blockbuster cast and a blockbuster topic, which is timely and fairly realistic. We see a charismatic candidate in the presidential primary in Ohio and we get to watch the jockeying for position among his staff, his supporters and his potential endorsers. We're looking at a highly principled contender with a staff that's deter- mined to win at any cost, so of course it becomes a question of idealism vs pragmatism. Don't forget, contemporary politics is a blood sport!

A budget this big can afford this cast:
  • George Clooney ("Up in the Air") is our candidate, perfectly clad, perfectly coiffed, with a perfect family and a finely tuned platform; slick, sincere and electable.
  • Ryan Gosling ("Drive") is an up-and-coming campaign professional who makes a tough job look easy. He can resist the siren song of headhunters because he believes in his candidate.
  • Paul Giamatti ("Win Win") is the wily campaign manager for the loyal opposition, who understands that sometimes it's easier to give voters a reason to vote against a candidate.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Moneyball") runs the show for our candidate. He's been in the business a long time and understands the value of loyalty.
  • Marisa Tomei ("Crazy, Stupid, Love") is a political hack for the New York Times. She has sources that would make any politician weep, but her hair looks like straw!
  • Jeffrey Wright ("Source Code") commands a huge block of Ohio delegates but he wants the promise of a Cabinet post before he will endorse anybody!
  • Evan Rachel Wood ("The Wrestler") interns for the candidate and his staff: she runs for coffee, delivers hard copy to meetings and generally provides a multitude of services. BTW, they need real coffee in those containers; the actors don't handle them realisti- cally!
We see the usual strategy meetings punctuated by the usual profanity but this well-crafted drama is highly watchable and entertaining all the way. I'm sure the R-rating is mostly due to language. Just remember, watching how a politician gets elected is similar to visiting a sausage factory, we really do NOT want to know what goes into it.

Bottom line: It's fun to see George Clooney, who worked on the screen- play and also directed, use this forum as a soapbox for his own personal agenda. Good luck with that, George.

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Sorry about the ad before the preview:
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