The Ides of March isn't exactly what I expected, even more after the seemingly disappointing reviews the film garnered when it was released about a month ago. With critics heavily divided on George Clooney's latest foray into directing (and starring), I approached Ides with caution. I can happily say I walked away very pleased at how everything panned out, and how great this little film actually turned out to be. Now I know it is a bit early to be pointing fingers at names, but with two great performances under his belt (that I've seen this year), it would be a huge upset if Ryan Gosling wasn't at least nodded for either his role here or for "Drive". And while "The Ides of March" surely inhabits everything I love about the Oscar season films, it doesn't quite reach the level of memorable that "Drive" did.
But let's stop comparing these two movies and start speaking about Ides. The low down is that George Clooney plays Mike Morris, a Governor whom is running for the Democratic seat to run for President. One of his staff, Steven Meyers (Gosling) wants to make it much bigger, but he's also more interested in helping push this man into his seat. He believes in Morris, something that during the events of this film, towards then end, he learns more about politics then anything school could have taught him. Meyers winds up finding himself caught in a web of dirty politics, and learns how to play by these dirty rules. It is an interesting concept, and I enjoyed every minute of this film.
We have some great supporting performances, most notably Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but other greats like Paul Giamatti and the always lovely Evan Rachel Wood show up to round out this excellent cast. George Clooney's role is important, but Gosling is the star here. What I found most intriguing his how Gosling's character quickly dives into the dirty side of things, and how the film plays out at the end. It wasn't exactly how I expected things to go, but I was completely satisfied with how this film ended.
This year's Oscar road is paved with literally nothing. There is no big poster-boy movie for the awards show; nothing to put aside on a pedestal at this point. I can't remember another year where there has been this dry of an awards season, but this seems to be it. "The Ides of March" has to be one of the few saving graces. A great little political thriller, I urge anyone interested enough to watch this movie to give it a shot.