Review: 6 out of 10
George Clooney stars/directs one of the few adult dramas of the year in “Ides of March,” its just too bad that it will only surprise small children.
Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Myers, a hotshot political consultant trying to get his candidate, Mike Morris (Clooney), through the last leg of the democratic primary toward getting the nomination for his party. Part of that means winning Ohio (and to do that means kowtowing for the endorsement of its senator, played by Jeffrey Wright).
Stephen really believes that Morris means real change, his partner Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), could care less as long as they get into the White House. Only that doesn’t stop Stephen from taking a meeting early on with the campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) for the competition. It’s safe to say this movie is at its best in the early going; a fast and quick-witted series of exchanges that will make you wish you had a rewind button just to understand it all.
Also fantastic is the playful, sexy, and funny chemistry between Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood, playing a young campaign intern. Gosling, playing a character who arrogantly feels he can only rise, and Clooney, playing a character that flaunts positive energy and message, are both very slick while Hoffman and Giamatti are both very good as hardened campaign veterans.
Only the second half of “Ides” seems to want to shock us by saying politics is a game of kill or be killed and integrity doesn’t exist. Really? Maybe Clooney’s next film can be about how the world is round.
“Ides” becomes nothing but seen-it-all-too-many-times-before clichés and secret back room meetings, none of which are that suspenseful. That “Ides” involves such stale material is a major disappointment coming from the talent involved.