Friday, December 30, 2011

Ides of March (2011)

Ides of March is an intellectual film portraying the corrupt nature of politics. The plot is centered on Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) who is one of the main staffers for presidential candidate Mike Morris (George Clooney). Stephen is on his way to a promising future in the White House until he reluctantly agrees to meet Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the senior campaign manager of opposing candidate Pullman. This crucial mistake utterly sabotages his career as he appears to transform from an idealist strongly driven by morality to a corrupted politician as a result of vengeance.

I was immersed in this film in its entirety. You don't need to fully understand politics to enjoy Ides of March; although, it may be difficult to follow each character's motives for their actions. A second viewing would be ideal. I believe that the conclusion is open for interpretations as to whether Stephen has finally turned to corruption or has planned all along to expose Morris' wrongdoings.

In my opinion, Stephen ultimately keeps Morris' affairs discreet. First of all, he didn't need to attain the title of senior campaign manager through blackmail just to expose Morris. Ida (Marisa Tomei) would have gladly reported the story given adequate evidence despite Stephen being a "fired disgruntled employee." Secondly, it's possible that Stephen didn't have any evidence whatsoever and it was only his word against Morris'. Morris recognized that Molly's note could have been a bluff but didn't want to take chances. This is a legitimate decision considering the fact that impregnating an intern will, without doubt, ruin his chances of winning the campaign. Given this possibility, Stephen's accusation wouldn't bring any serious consequences without sufficient proof.

Ides of March has received some Oscar buzz. So far, it has received 4 Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (George Clooney), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), and Best Screenplay. Leonardo DiCaprio, the executive producer of Ides, is an opposing Best Actor contender for his performance in J. Edgar.

The dialogue was brilliant and you must pay close attention in order to follow the plot. For a political thriller, this is a well-paced film with quick transitions between scenes. Personally, I thought it could have been 30 minutes longer.

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