There are few actors out there that I will gladly sit and watch with a smile on my face regardless of how bad the movie is. George Clooney is one of them. Sure I'm a little gay for the guy, but how can you not be? This new movie of his is not only starring him as a politician in the fight for the nomination but it was directed by him too. The last time he did both it was for Michael Clayton and it got him an Oscar nomination for Directing and a win for Acting. Sadly, this time around, it won't produce such accolades.
Despite the fact that The Ides of March has one of the most impressive casts this year and it does nothing for the film. It not only has Clooney but Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler). With that kind of pedigree, you'd think there'd be thespiatic explosions all over the screen. There isn't.
That's not to say that the acting isn't well done though. Everyone is natural and subtle but the script prevents them from displaying too much more than the cold Washington Insiders they are...that is except for Gosling. Once again, Ryan Gosling does a great job at showing us a very layered character. He's the cool and collected head of the political campaign that's put in two situations that lend itself to his undoing. One involves a tug-of-war between Hoffman and Giamatti and the other is cleaning up after Clooney. It's fun and unfortunate to watch Reynold's character become undone, but it's not enough to really get full entertainment out of it.
The film moves at a deliberatly slow pace. It's not heart-pounding or edge-of-your-seat. It plays out more realistic than most political thrillers do. I appreciate that. But when it comes to how I want my movies, realism is appreciated but not throughly loved. I would have enjoyed a few more twists and turns and a little more passion from the players would have pumped more life into the film. But it's still very dark, sinister and paints an ugly portrait of American politics...and that I like.
The Ides of March (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: B-