Movie Review - "The Ides of March"

Today I saw a screening of The Ides of March, starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei & Philip Seymour Hoffman.

This film is a political drama/thriller which is also directed by George Clooney.

Here's the synopsis:

During the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, an up-and-coming campaign press secretary finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate's shot at the presidency.

Ok that synopsis kinda sucked, but I'll explain. George Clooney plays PA governor Mike Morris, who is running for the Democratic party Presidential nomination, against a guy who doesn't really matter. Morris is an Obama-esque candidate, complete with "Believe" message & support from a wide range of the voters. Philip Seymour Hoffman  is his senior campaign manager, Paul. Ryan Gosling is Paul's right hand man, Stephen. The campaign is in Ohio trying to win the nomination, & in the last few days before the primary in Ohio, the campaign & each of the main characters goes through a some changes & events.

I try to avoid spoilers so that's as much as I'm going to give.

Now to the review...

This film has several heavy hitters in it & I enjoyed most of the performances. The one I found the least believable was Ryan Gosling, mostly because when I see him I think of The Notebook which has to be the sappiest movie ever made. Clooney plays the role of the charismatic principled political candidate to the T & Philip Seymour Hoffman as his campaign manager was great casting. I also really enjoyed Paul Giamatti, who plays the campaign manager for the opposing candidate.

The plot moved well & the film had a nice pace. There was one plot twist that I did not expect, which was nice. Often these types of films have a clear agenda & the "good guy gets caught up but then saves the day" storyline is so overdone & easy to spot. I also don't like films that wrap up all the plotlines in a neat little package, and this film does not do that. You leave the theater wondering what happens to the Morris campaign & the various players as they move into the general election & on.

Overall I enjoyed The Ides of March & I really don't have a reason to criticize it. The acting is great, the film isn't too long, and it engages the viewer in a number of ways. I left wondering just how correct this film is compared to real campaigns & how the average voter has no clue what goes into politics. Perhaps this film will give them a clue.

Have you seen The Ides of March? What did you think?