The Ides Of March

YEAR: 2011

WRITER:George Clooney

DIRECTOR:George Clooney

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $3,450,000 (as of October 7th, 2011)

 

a couple years ago, after the box office failure of a few films, all the talk was about the death of smart, adult fare. how, no one was going to see these movies and studios were going to stop making them. well, i guess george clooney didn't get the memo, because The Ides Of March is a smart, adult film and a really good one at that!

while i wouldn't call myself a political junkie (what's a step below "junkie?"), i do enjoy politics. actually, i enjoy it and am often very frustrated by it as well. but all that to say a good political thriller is always something that will intrigue me. but notice the word "good" in that last sentence.

the problem with some political thrillers is that they feel the need to really push the "thrill" part and to do so they end up getting convoluted and going to far: a murder and a cover-up and then a leak leads to another murder which brings in a secret uncovered from many years ago, etc... The Ides Of March doesn't fall into that trap.

the film takes us into the world of this campaign and in there we understand how high the stakes are and how important everything is to those involved. and given that, even a small (and believable) transgression can take on large importance and thrills and cause characters to change their views of things and act in ways they might not have otherwise (we don't need two murders and a secret organization to keep us interested or believing).

it also helps that the film is populated by great performances from all involved (clooney, gosling, giamatti, seymour hoffman, evan rachel wood, jeffrey wright marisa tomei). the film is filled with about six or seven one-on-one scenes between these various actors/actresses that had me transfixed to the screen. the performances and the writing create a palpable tension whether it be flirty or suspenseful or confrontational.

and let us not forget the direction here. clooney is quietly becoming on of the better directors out there. with this film, Good Night And Good Luck and Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (i haven't seen Leatherheads) clooney has shows a real vision specific to each film in how he wants to tell the story and how he wants it to look. and with The Ides Of March he found in phedon papmichael a cinematographer to realize it beautifully.

i know the political thing will turn some people off. but, just to say... you dont have to be a political junkie or even a step below junkie to understand or enjoy this movie. so, don't let that hold you back.