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The Ides of March

by

Jeff Nelson

The Ides of March is okay, but doesn't reach the greatness that many people hyped it up to be.

The Ides of March
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With politics becoming a lot more involved with the media and even gossip rags, George Clooney decided to take a shot at creating a movie revolving around it. However, it has a bit of a deeper message. The central themes are ones such as loyalty, honesty, and the lack thereof. It displays what some of the elements of politics can do to a man and how it can completely change a person. With George Clooney behind the camera and writing the screenplay, I'm sure his name alone attracted plenty of audiences. Clooney explores the levels of the game of manipulation in the competitive world of politics.

Dirty tricks stand to soil an ambitious young press spokesman's idealism in a cutthroat presidential campaign where "victory" is relative. I wasn't sure how great a screenplay would be from George Clooney concerning politics. However, it surprisingly feels authentic. The beginning of the movie is really well-composed, but it loses quite a bit of its steam in the second act. The ending of the movie is decent, but still isn't able to reach how good the beginning was. It sets everything up well, yet isn't able to keep as strong throughout. I found myself quickly and genuinely caring about a couple characters. However, we didn't get to see very much character development in some of the supporting roles. It's unfortunate since some of them appear to be rather intriguing roles. Clooney attempts to express the behind-the-scenes of the political world, and he has his moments. There are times where The Ides of March gets a little bit too sucked into the sub-plot drama rather than focusing on the politics of the movie. The screenplay surprisingly has some great moments, although it also has its low scenes. A majority of the dialogue is very well-written, which truly aids the movie in feeling real. Clooney has helped write something much better than i would have imagined from him. The pacing is pretty good as the movie never slows down too much, but it won't pump adrenaline, which is to be expected. It's a bit of a shame that the entire film couldn't reach the level of quality that the beginning of the movie is able to master. After it loses its power, it's a little bit of a letdown to see the movie not being able to pick itself fully off the ground.

What is probably the primary reason why The Ides of March attracted audiences is the cast. The film stars Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, and more. There are some marvelous performances to be seen here. Ryan Gosling surely delivers the strongest representation. He plays Stephen Meyers and is extremely convincing, as he always is in his films. I truly respect him as an actor to be able to choose movies with a character that he can really relate to in order to become extraordinarily natural. He has a lot of talent that is shown yet again in The Ides of March. When it comes to George Clooney, he's the type of actor I have always believed to have played himself in every movie. He delivers his dialogue in the exact same manner as we're used to seeing him in. Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic as Paul Zara. He has some great dialogue that one can tell he put a lot of effort into. He really became the role in this movie. Evan Rachel Wood really made me care for her character and is as charming and believable as ever. The greatest aspect of The Ides of March is the acting. Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Evan Rachel Wood provide the strongest performances here.

There isn't very much to say about the visuals, but it's more involved in the cinematography than most other dramas. There are some sequences that Clooney really is able to create parallelism through the visuals and the characters. When it comes to the audio, it's pretty important. One may ask why since it's just a drama and not an action flick. Well, The Ides of March is a dialogue-heavy affair, so it's important to be able to clearly hear what is being said. All of the talking is focused through the center channel and it's never difficult to hear what's being said. There's a lot of applause being spread through the front speakers during the speeches, but there aren't very many uses for the surrounds. However, there are some minor atmospheric effects every now and then. The visual aspect of the movie is passable.

George Clooney's attempt to tackle the politics of politics in modern times is ultimately successful. It isn't an incredible movie, but it's decent. There's a deeper story than just the politics that shows the loss of innocence within our characters over politics. The first act of the movie is strong, but it doesn't remain consistent from there on out. The second act is shaky and the final portion of film gets a little bit better, but doesn't come close to reaching the quality of the beginning. The acting is strong, especially by Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Evan Rachel Wood. George Clooney is once again playing himself. That shouldn't serve as very much of a surprise to audiences who are familiar with his work. I can definitely see audiences splitting upon his or her opinions concerning this movie. It definitely has its ups and downs. I'm noticing both of them and trying to address both sides through this review. The Ides of March is okay, but doesn't reach the greatness that many people hyped it up to be. It's worth a rental for the performances and dialogue.

My Rating = Three and One Half Stars

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