|Still from The Ides of March|
The Ides of March certainly has the pedigree of an Oscar contender, but does it live up to its deafeningly-loud buzz? Perhaps so, perhaps not. At 30 years of age, Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is the Mastermind behind the Political Campaign of Presidential Candidate, Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). After becoming involved with 20 year-old intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) and unexpectedly being wooed by the Brain behind a powerful opponent to Governor Morris in Tom (Paul Giamatti), Stephen finds himself caught in a thick, knotted web of corruption, betrayal and deception, himself struggling to do what is right and more importantly, survive in the cut-throat world of Politics.
Make no mistake, The Ides of March is a highly-watchable and engaging affair, marked overall by strong performances in particular from Gosling and Wood, the latter perhaps benefiting most from her work here as a lovelorn Seductress. Having also seen Gosling's Drive recently, it is plain to see where he invested his focus best, with both Films seeing a release over the past month. This Political Drama's most pivotal moment comes where Stephen and Governor Morris face-off quietly and icily, handled with tight precision as Director/Co-writer Clooney draws-in our focus to the expressions on their Talking Heads and intense dialogue.
Where The Ides of March falters though is a general lack of detail in key areas which should matter, wrapping-up just a little too soon and maybe a little too open-ended. Clooney's Governor Morris hovers a tad too far from the thick of it to give audience a satisfying amount of tension and overall, each character here is so flawed that there lacks any real reward or draw in rooting for them. One also cannot deny its disappointing under-use of the brilliant Marisa Tomei as Ida, a pestering New York Times reporter.
The Ides of March hits theatres on October 7, 2011 via Sony Pictures (U.S.) and Alliance Films (Canada). Despite its shortcomings, it still rates in the upper echelon of releases in 2011.