Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Ides of March

The Pursuit of Victory 

Director: George Clooney
Writers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon (play "Farragut North")
Cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright

SYNOPSIS: Young idealistic campaign staffer Stephen Myers believes his Pennsylvania governor turned Democratic presidential candidate to be one of the few men who could effect real change if elected into the White House. On the road to the Ohio Democratic primaries, he gets a crash course in dirty politics.

REVIEW: George Clooney writes, directs, and stars in an adaptation of the play "Farragut North" by Beau Willimon. Helped along with the writing efforts of Grant Heslov (writer of Good Night, and Good Luck, director of The Men Who Stare at Goats, Clooney assembles a cast of the highest caliber to bring this political drama to the big screen.

Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling - Drive, Blue Valentine) works as a political campaign staffer under lead staffer Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman - Moneyball, Doubt) for Pennsylvania governor turned Democratic presidential candidate Mike Morris (George Clooney - Ocean's Eleven, The American). Charismatic and dedicated, Stephen has complete and utter faith that his candidate is the politician who could really make substantial changes at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the opposite side of the Democratic debate against Morris is Senator Pullman (Michael Mantell) and his chief of staff Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti - John Adams, Sideways). Knowing that Morris may win the Ohio Democratic primaries, Duffy calls Myers directly with an option to jump ship to his campaign camp a week before the primaries. Afterward Myers finds himself in a ever increasingly difficult position, first trying to keep his candidate above board, then trying to keep his own future secure.

George Clooney has the influence and star power to draw the best actors and actresses to his projects. Ryan Gosling is coming into his own as a premier leading man, previously nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for Half Nelson. Paul Giamatti was nominated for Cinderella Man. Hoffman was nominated for Doubt and Charlie Wilson's War and won for Capote. Clooney was nominated five times and won for Syriana. Tomei was nominated three times and won for My Cousin Vinny. It's almost criminal the critical acclaim that each of these players command. I know I am rattling off their pedigrees but, upon watching this film, it's obvious that every people is reserving of the awards their peers have bestowed on them. The film is subtle and nuanced, every unspoken word as powerful and meaningful as the lengthy dialogue between the characters.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of political drama but The Ides of March is steady and engrossing, moving along as smoothly as the never ending gears of the beastly engine that is the political campaign trail. With deals happening under the table and behind closed doors, the public and the audience is as surprised as Myers when Morris' campaign strategies take abrupt turns - for better or worse.

Clooney's Morris speaks about integrity, about what is right for the American public and the country as a whole, how to decrease dependency on the sands of the Middle East, and how to again become a world leader instead of a follower. To what lengths will Myers go to get Morris man elected? What behavior and immorality will he ignore for the greater good? And what compromises will he make to get the job done?

WORTH: Matinee or DVD

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