REVIEW: 'The Ides of March'

REVIEW: 'The Ides of March'

REVIEW: 'The Ides of March', Flicks.co.nz
Ryan Gosling beside his 'Vote For George!' poster in 'The Ides Of March'

4 stars

Political drama directed by George Clooney, about an idealistic staffer (Ryan Gosling) working for a newbie presidential candidate (Clooney) who gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.

Refreshingly neither a satire nor overblown political conspiracy tale, The Ides of March may not be an Aaron Sorkin-esque look inside the American political system but makes the most of its narrow focus and relatively straightforward narrative. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the film’s competing Democratic campaigns are populated by a cast including the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and George Clooney either, but it’s Ryan Gosling’s lead performance that makes the film tick.

Gosling’s charisma and intensity prove a perfect match for the position of deputy campaign manager, and the contrast between his physical appearance and political motivation sees him perfectly cast as someone on the cusp of losing their innocence and joining the ranks of Machiavellian cynics. In Gosling’s performance you see echoes of his previous roles, but unlike Drive or Half Nelson where he arrives on screen a broken version of his character The Ides of March is more about the damage that takes him there.

With The Ides of March taking place within a relatively short time frame, the film doesn’t try to critique the American political system. Instead it is focused on the human element, examining the motivations of its characters and the consequences of all types of decisions that are made in a high stakes environment. The film’s conclusions are hardly shocking and it doesn’t make any revelations that surprise but, like Clooney’s straightforward and unflashy directorial style, The Ides of March proves to be an effective drama.

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