Films | Movie Reviews | Ides of March: Movie Review

Ides of March: Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on November 21, 2011 | No Comments

PRODUCER – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver
DIRECTOR – George Clooney
WRITER – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
CAST – George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood
MUSIC – Alexandre Desplat

We don’t need the title to suggest that what was prevalent in 44 BC is relevant today too. Plutarch and Shakespeare’s ‘Ides of March’ are not just Caesar’s tryst with betrayal and power over ideals but a mirror to the current political systems, world-wide.

It is in a tight drama of dispensable morals, human weakness and aphrodisiacs of power that George Clooney weaves his story and his protagonists. Mike Morris, (George Clooney) Pennsylvania Governor is running for the President. The Leftist Democrat’s campaign is managed by veteran Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and his junior associate, 30-yr-old dynamic Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling).

It is a crucial run-up to the finale and stakes are high. Stephen lines up the usual issues of global warming, military commitments overseas and equitable taxation at home with alacrity even as Morris effortlessly mouths suave ideologues without a strong ideology. It is a precarious run-up in which Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) (the opposition’s chief campaigner) proposes that Stephen join them. Meanwhile, Stephen learns of a skeleton in Morris’s closet which shakes his idealism. One missed step on his part over-turns entire the equation exposing the nature of human foibles in the face of power and success.

George Clooney takes material from Beau Williman’s play Farragut North and cleverly turns it into film material. He fleshes out Mike’s character (which is only in the background in the play) and gives him a polished exterior which is as transparent as it is hollow. Paul remains the staunch and experienced campaigner but it is Stephen’s slightly vulnerable idealism and yet-to-be seasoned political finesse that drives the plot to its racy finish.

It is a strapping cast Clooney brings to the film. Hoffman, Gosling and he remain sturdy and unflinching right till the end, riding the see-sawing twists of their fates with an under-done and subtle approach that makes for sheer tautness. Hoffman’s solid portrayal of an experienced political aide with strong convictions match Clooney’s effectively smooth charmer with no palpable morals.  Evan Rachel Wood he strikes the right note of innocence caught in the fray of adult politics and Marisa Tomei as the battle-scarred, hardended journalist plays her role with finesse.

But it is Gosling that makes the viewing satisfactory. As he smoothly roller-coasters through confident, strapping and assured to unbalanced and unsure we go deeper into questioning what really gives in this sinking world where the most negotiable thing is our values.

It isn’t a world-changing outlook or a piercing commentary on modern-day morals that will make you wince. It doesn’t mean to preach or change either. It means to portray and portray it does with an incisiveness that makes for a rabid, edge-of-the-seat entertainer that is as much as the actor’s triumph as it is the director’s.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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