THE IDES OF MARCH
Written by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Directed by George Clooney
Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood
Stephen Myers: Nothing bad happens when you’re doing the right thing.
Governor Mike Morris: Is that your personal theory because I can poke holes in it.
George Clooney has been mulling making THE IDES OF MARCH for a few years now. When he first wanted to make it in 2008, he decided to put his plans on hold because of the political climate. The United States were on the cusp of a monumental election and a financial crisis and he did not want to take advantage of either. Three years later though, Clooney and his longtime production partner, Grant Heslov (GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK) think the timing is now right to unveil their political thriller to the voting public. Apparently, it is acceptable to be critical of their government again.
Clooney plays Governor Mike Morris, a seemingly genuine and upstanding gentleman, who is trying to secure the democratic party nomination for the upcoming presidential race. Naturally, nothing is as it seems and it would appear that no one can get to such great heights without stepping over a few people along the way. To get where he is, you also need a crack team behind you and Governor Morris’ includes actors as diverse and talented as Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood. Hoffman is the veteran, Wood is the intern and Gosling is the shiny new guy who is clearly on his way to greater things. In fact, Gosling’s career appears to mirror the position of his character, Stephen Myers. The man is certainly on his own streak and his lead performance here is another that will certainly continue to propel him forward.
THE IDES OF MARCH is a compelling and engaging thriller, despite not bringing much new to the table. Gosling’s Stephen gets caught up in the political crossfire behind the campaign scenes and it becomes a pretty harrowing challenge for him to ensure he still comes out ahead of everyone else. And while Clooney’s execution is smooth and effective, it does cater a little too often to his own political views. Clooney did not want his character to be a republican as he thought the criticism would be too obvious. As a democrat though, he gets the chance to voice all of platforms on topics as heated as gay marriage and tax incentives for the super rich. Everything he says seems so sensible, the film becomes something of a criticism for all politicians, as if to suggest it could be as easy as he claims if they would just get it together. And while Clooney may not be ready to run for president, he earns my vote for being a top notch film director.