The Ides of March (2011)

I think everybody knows that they would vote for George Clooney to be the next president.

An up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s (George Clooney) shot at the presidency.

Director George Clooney is behind the camera again for the fourth time and compared to ones such as Leatherheads, Good Night and Good Luck, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, he doesn’t have much of a problem doing whatever it is that he does.

Clooney shows that he really can keep an interesting story going even if it doesn’t seem like anything new or ground-breaking. From the beginning, I thought I was going to get another behind-the-scenes look at a political race like in Primary Colors, however, Clooney keeps it entertaining with sharp dialogue that actually made me laugh at times surprisingly, while still giving me a lot to see with all these bad-ass politicians.

However, the story goes through a very odd twist right through the middle where it sort of switches the tone from political thriller to melodrama of sorts. Without giving the twist away too much, I still felt like this was a pretty cool twist on the film and actually kind of tied in with what happens with the last 30 minutes of the film.

This is where I think Clooney started to fall though because he doesn’t really do a very good job of keeping both of these story-lines together and still almost meaning the same thing. What I mean is that the film’s twist is good and for the most part, features some very good scenes for the latter part of the film but there are still scenes about the other part of the film that had to do with the actual political race that didn’t seem like they belonged together with the twist in the same film. I noticed this and it kind of bothered me because even though I felt like both “story-lines” were interesting as hell and kept me interested, they still felt like two different kinds of films.

There isn’t also anything new that Clooney has to say about all of these politicians that hasn’t already been said or shown before. I think Clooney’s script is a little too moral for this material where it shows everybody basically being a bunch of evil and conniving sons-of-bitches towards one another. Clooney just wanted us to really see just how much all of these people manipulate each other when it comes to a presidential race such as this and although it was really cool to see all of that play out, I still didn’t need all the moralizing of these characters.

When it comes to the cast though, Clooney really does know how to do a great job with picking a near-perfect ensemble. Ryan Gosling is just all-over-the-place this year and is perfect as Stephen Myers. Gosling is a commanding presence on screen and demands your attention every time he’s up there. He seems believable and looks like a guy that knows all the right things to do and how to do them but after he is thrown a curve-ball, really doesn’t know how to handle it all too well.

Clooney is also good as Governor Mike Morris, and he surprisingly plays up that very dirty-politician act well which is something I wasn’t really expecting to see from him, especially in his own film. The scenes he has with Gosling are awesome and couldn’t have been any better with any other two actors. Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman play two opposing campaign managers and are cast perfectly because both roles get to show just how damn good they are. Both of them are amazing in this film showing how cool and calm one minute they can be, but then the next minute totally mad and crazy as hell, so you don’t know which one to trust the most and who’s the good manager or the bad one.

Evan Rachel Wood is surprisingly very good in a juicy role as Molly, that allows to show her being sexy and a little bit mysterious but also emotional and vulnerable. She shows some great range and has an even more believable character arc. Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright aren’t in here as much as the film may make you think, but they’re also very good as well and round out the cast to perfect effect.

Consensus: Though there are a lot of messy things about The Ides of March, Clooney makes up for it with a very interesting story that gets better as the film goes along, and a cast full of great star that bring so much to each of their characters.



  1. This film looks really interesting, George Clooney and Ryan Gosling in a film together..who can complain? Good review đŸ™‚

  2. i actually am not a fan of Clooney’s acting. he uses his charm and nothing else to work though a scene and it bores me to death. he’s very uninteresting in front of the camera, but excels behind the camera. i agree, he has chosen a great cast (save for tomei, who i think was miscast). i’m glad you mentioned Wood, who i thought was amazing in this brief role. wish we saw more of her in it.

  3. Clooney is alright as an actor, but I do think he needs to change it up a bit. As for his direction here, he’s very good at drawing a big-ensemble and getting great work from all of them. Thanks Candice!

  4. Great review, and thanks for reminding me that I need to check out “Primary Colors” lol. But it looks like we agree on a good amount of things when it comes to the film. Clooney and company are perfect and the story is what really keeps the film going.

    • It does keep it going and just watching this ensemble make it work is what made me really like this film. Thanks man! Hope you like Primary Colors.

  5. Your review is very interesting. I didn’t have that “two different story lines” experience as I watched it, but I can agree with everything else you say. Thanks for commenting on CosmicTwinsMedia!

  6. I agree with everything you said and yet, I didn’t care for the film. It was just a ho-hum political thriller for me. Giamatti and Hoffman were outstanding and Wood did a great job with her small part. But I thought Gosling was just adequate here. He’s having a phenomenal year. Drive is one of my favorites this year. But here Gosling seemed a little out of his depth compared to everyone else.

    • I don’t know about you but I think that the whole cast did a great job, including Gosling, although I don’t think he shines as much because the story takes over the film really. Thanks Mark!

  7. I agree with a lot of what you said, except that I think that the two storylines that developed were fairly well integrated under one sphere. Not an incredibly novel film, but very entertaining thanks to good acting and Clooney’s direction. The ending was also excellent.

    • The acting and direction are what saved this film from being very mediocre. That was ending was awesome and I think helped my opinion of the film increase so much more too. Thanks Tommy!

  8. Great review of course as always Dan

    But I’m actually also digging all the comments youve got here… seems as though there are a lot of people who this movie didnt “connect” with. I think its deliberately kind of cold and cynical and whatnot.

    I find it amusing that this got a “B” cinema score this weekend, and “Real Steel” got an “A”. LOL. Just goes to show you… excellently constructed and acted is going to lose to a piece of crap with heart Every single time. LOL

    • True. I saw Real Steel and thought it was entertaining just like this one, but they’re both in two completely different ball-parks, like Moneyball. That was a good joke I know. lol Thanks Dan!

  9. I think it’s important for people to see this example of what goes on behind the scenes of an election. I really enjoyed the twists and turns in the movie, as well as the way it exercised my brain as I tried to predict what would happen next. I didn’t see two separate storylines either. I thought it all went together well.

  10. The acting in this was great, and I didn’t find the moralizing as strange as you did. It felt to me like the combination of being politicians (who always have double lives and go into moralizing when talking to the public), but more than that it felt like the type of justification that people do all the time–when they know they’re doing bad, they come up with a theory that tries to make them look good!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s