Friday, 30 March 2012

The Ides of March

The politics is a dirty business. This assertion goes without proof, it is an axiom. And this assertion also means that politics is a perfect topic to explore in a movie: it is only natural to recall Shakespeare and the tensions and emotions of his plays. The topic, I believe, remains underexplored despite the lack of good and fresh ideas obvious in the cinematography now.

The Ides of March is based on the play “Farragut North” by Beau Willimon, and the influence of theatre can be sensed throughout the movie. Relatively short at approximately 100 minutes, it sets fantastic example to numerous recent movies in terms of how to keep attention of the audience. Just like in a theatre, the movie throws you right in the middle of the action, gives you a couple of minutes to familiarize yourself and then quickly throw a few problems in, and before you even decide for yourself what would be the best course of action, the movie proceeds to catharsis, leaving you pondering about the nature of human beings.

Curious thing: the movie about politics feels more like a good tense action movie. It is like “Drive”, but concentrated on people. It can easily leave you breathless for a couple of seconds on some turn of the plot; it is filled with events – a quality that any moviegoer cherishes after watching slow-paced meaningless dramas.

And this is the biggest beauty of this movie: it has everything you may be looking for in a drama. Hopes, ideals, loyalty, betrayal, money, smart people making very smart moves, another smart people trying to outplay the first ones, sweat, blood, tears – everything is in there. The movie reminds of all the Shakespeare plays taken together and pressed to get a fresh mixed juice. Anybody can find in the movie something close to them, something to resonate with. The story of idealistic PR-man, the rising star of the presidential campaign who sees the dark side of the political battle, contains a lot of small moments for us to recognize ourselves in. Here is the fatal choice, determining our life for years to come. Here is kindness and care about people around us, but which does not really help. Here is a mistake, one little mistake that we will regret. Here are the ideals that we had but which were crushed by merciless reality. The Ides of March tell the story of one fictional guy from America, but by the end of the movie you are looking at your own life story. I think this is something the authors may be proud of.

George Clooney is in this movie more as the director than the actor. As the presidential nominee, he doesn’t shine; he doesn’t show anything outstanding. However, he is solid as director and screenplay writer. The plot holds together perfectly, and every still in the movie is at the right place at the right time. Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers is, as opposed to Clooney, shining. Charismatic, convincing and complex – what else could we ask for? He now has “Drive” and “The Ides of March” in 2011 in his portfolio, and these two performances are truly remarkable.

VERDICT: The best movie any drama-lover could wish for. The whole spectrum of human emotions and human problems in one movie. Teenagers and Transformers fans are probably going to be disappointed.


  1. I agree with you on this film. I had it as one of my Top 10 films of 2011.

  2. What surprises me is that this movie got only one Oscar nomination... Totally unfair, I believe