George Clooney steps into his 4th feature as director and Democratic Nominee Governor Mike Morris.
It’s the 15th of March and, with the Ohio nomination looming, his campaign managers Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Stephen (Ryan Gosling) are employing their best manoeuvres and sexy interns to edge ahead of rival in the race Senator Pullman. The challenger, campaign leader Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), has his own tricks up his sleeve.
In this Hollywood Democrat’s wet dream, Stephen and his campaign colleagues must make the unconventional Morris a polling favourite. Wonkish rants on non-religion and women’s rights give way to nefarious dealings and the crumbling of Stephen’s bright-eyed belief in pure politics. Maris Tomei’s reporter Ida adds a healthy dose of reality to proceedings while throw-away missteps being to unravel into catastrophe of the personal and political varieties.
Clooney’s mature direction contrasts with Stephen’s wavering confidence as he wades out of his depth and into unpredictable territory. Meanwhile, masterful pacing allows the plot to unfurl, punctuated by noirish film moments and some of the most unnerving uses of the word ‘fuck’ in modern cinema.
The Ides of March’s cast of strong characters is subjected to scrutiny, their weaknesses revealed like chinks in their armour. How they fare reflects their final standing; a pristine picture imbued with fresh subtexts. As Sorkin-less political dramas go, it’s an arrow straight through the bleeding heart.