Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Ides of March

2011, 15, Directed by George Clooney
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, George Clooney

After directorial efforts like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck, it’s crystal clear that George Clooney is more than capable of constructing a frame as he is filling one. With his latest, The Ides of March, he has made a savvy (and recurring) decision by handing main credit to a top-of-his-game star – step forward Ryan Gosling – in a film that tracks a presidential campaign as much as it tracks corruption, greed and temptation. Of course, the candidate himself, Governor Mike Morris, is played by Clooney - but he does well to pry the focus from the character all eyes are on and onto Gosling’s campaigner Stephen Myers, a young duckling who appears to be effortlessly swimming the depths of the massive pool of politics. But combine Paul Giamatti’s trouble-making rival campaigner with Evan Rachel Wood’s young intern embroiling herself into the increasingly endangered race and Myers realises that to swim these depths, some evolving might have to occur.
Character’s personalities and their allegiances shift to the point of predictability, but somehow The Ides of March remains an extremely thrilling ride. With every scene comes a new plot twist that succeeds in changing the tone the film exudes and this is largely thanks to Steven Zaillian’s script. Clooney’s presence as director is felt but almost underpinned by the film’s events – which is maybe his point: with the gold-dust cast he has on his hands, why would highlight be placed on directorial flourishes?  Ides may prove too by-the-numbers for some viewers, but thanks to a particular scene where Philip Seymour Hoffman enticingly rants to Gosling about loyalty or Marisa Tomei’s spineless reporter claws for some scoop, the whole affair is elevated. George Clooney has provided yet another enjoyable, watchable and thrilling feature.