The Ides of March

The Ides of March

Director: George Clooney

George Clooney’s new film The Ides of March tells us something we probably already knew: That the experience of running an American political campaign is damaging for both one’s heart and soul. In an atmosphere heavily dripping with betrayal it is easy from the outset to be drawn in amongst the final days of the Democratic primary campaign unfolding in the key state of Ohio. Ryan Gosling takes the lead role as Stephen Meyers, the idealistic second-in-command to Governor Mike Morris’s (George Clooney) campaign. Meyers is unique among those surrounding him in that he is a true believer in Morris’s plan for the country. However, as the story develops, he is forced to recognise that he has mistaken the charm-boy governor’s blunt talk for idealism.

Primarily following Meyer’s introduction to dirty politics, the story plays out with everyone fighting to save themselves, their careers and their ambitions, trapped by human weakness rather than being persuaded by superior arguments or circumstances. This is particularly apparent in Meyers as he falls victim to anger and pride. To spice it up a bit there is also of course a brief romance in the form of Molly, a 20-year-old intern who screams “trouble” at first glance.

The film can’t be faulted for much – the acting is superb, the writing consistently dramatic and it never strays from scandalous. Gosling’s lead performance is fantastic, depicting a young idealist on the point of turning sour and an important scene involving a power play-off between Gosling and Clooney is dark and brilliant. For those who follow politics, this is a must-see for its portrayal of the many kinds of melodramatic events that crop up in all US elections, but most importantly for its brutal demonstration of the action of the strong upon the weak.

– Eve Duckworth
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2012.
Posted 6:37pm Sunday 11th March 2012 by Eve Duckworth.