Movie Reviews this week looks at the George Clooney produced and directed The Ides of March, starring George Clooney (Ocean’s 11) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) as Stephen Meyers and Governor Mike Morris respectively.
It tells the story of the Democratic primaries to find out who will lead the Democratic party in the soon to be held presidential elections, but as the William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar inspired title hints at, the focus of the movie is on the background incidents involving the media spin doctors, who mainly represent Governor Morris, Stephen Meyers and Paul Zara played by the always impressive Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War).
We join the story as Stephen tests out the microphone and surroundings ahead of a much anticipated debate between Senator Morris and his main rival for the Democratic Presidential Nominee. Not much is focused on the other candidate, in fact we hardly hear a word from him during the entire movie, instead the focus of the movie surrounds the backroom shenanigans in the world of political spin doctors, which Stephen and Paul are well adapt at; as they try to give Senator Morris every advantage in the race to the Democratic Presidential Nominee, against the opposition’s spin doctor, Tom Duffy brilliantly played by Paul Giamati (Shoot Em’ Up).
It also stars the gorgeous Evan Rachel Wood (almost unrecognisable from The Wrestler) playing Molly Stearns, an intern who has joined Senator Morris’s team, and immediately sets her eyes on Stephen, there is an amusing scene where Molly asks Stephen how old he is, he asks her, how old does he look like, she says questioningly “30”? To which he replies “You think I’m 30”? Just as she is about to apologetically guess again, he tells her he is 30, when asked to guess her age, he says 20, she replies that he is correct, and the conversation moves into the morality of such a young girl being with “such an old man”.
It turns out that Senator Morris’s campaign has hit something of a cul de sac, as they require the 356 delegates of a Senator Thompson played charmingly by Jeffrey Wright (fantastic as Colin Powell in W); or else they might lose the Primary, Tom Duffy is also eager on the task of getting Senator Thompson on board, as his vote is the difference that can decide the winner.
As political movies goes, The Ides of March is a fantastic movie with some brilliant acting, dealing with a plethora of political issues such as loyalty, integrity and the things that some are willing to do for what they believe is right. It comes as no surprise that The Ides Of March is touted as being a firm favourite for several Oscar nominations.