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“The Ides of March” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

October 7, 2011

George Clooney, superstar of the Hollywood industry, returns to the director’s chair for his fourth outing, this time he brings us an interconnecting political thriller focusing on the key win of the Democratic Ohio Primary for a presidential hopeful Governor and the people behind his team which cause certain issues with in the campaign trail.

Firstly, I loved the reaction by the audience at the end of the screening, people were stunned and shocked by the notion that George Clooney can direct a movie. Hello people?! Anyone see “Good Night & Good Luck”? “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”? No? Idiots! Clooney’s not only a great actor, but fantastic producer, and his directing skills shown in “Good Night” & “Ides”, proves he can hold a film with the up most best as a filmmaker.

During the frantic final days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is up for the Democratic nomination, which should headline him into a seat as commander & chief. But, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary, Stephen Myers, (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate’s shot at the presidency. Things turn for the worse as both sides turn the knife that’s already stabbed in the back, dirty politics takes its toll, including the life an unfortunate individual.

While the movie itself relies on themes and certain elements of politics that we’ve already come to know, it still maintains a strong performance as a political thriller. Much like this years film “Contagion”, the thriller portion is played calm, cool, and collective. “Ides” isn’t unnerving as it’s more like…you want to shout out to the screen, ‘WTF!?’ It gets to that point, and sadly enough in the real world of politics, especially when both parties are vying for the big chair at the white house, it’s a sad truth we’ve got to accept.

The acting is in top-notch gear, Clooney has always worked with a great caliber of actors in the past, and it’s no secret he wants the best in a film he’s directing. There are so many supporting roles in this film, which could earn countless Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor or Actress. Paul Giamatti, Marissa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, all were amazing. Ryan Gosling continues to dominate the screen as a leading man. What? This is his 4th leading role this year, right? My friend Julie, who saw the movie, thinks he’ll get nominated come Oscar season. Granted he was good in this film, but he was BETTER in “Drive”. That’s my two cents on Ryan.

Story-wise, the story is to familiar in certain ways. Once the big twists hit the audience, the first thing the audience will think of is John Edwards. And in some ways this movie relies on those past events, but it does take the liberty to go a different way. I don’t know, but how this movie ends, it’s almost a little too fairy-tale. You’ll see what I mean.

Overall, I really did like this movie, this was an actor’s film, lead by a strong cast, with grade A direction by George Clooney. It was a solid film and a good water cooler talk movie the day after you see it.

GRADE: B+

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Special Thanks to Julie Klein for attending the screening and giving her input on the film.

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