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The Ides of March


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If I learned anything from House of Cards, it’s that politics is dirty. The shady dealings are dirty. The lies are dirty. Heck, even the truths are bound to be dirty. Another aspect of politics made even clearer in The Ides of March is the complete lack of safety surrounding all involved, even the lowly interns.

Grade:

B

Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is a hotshot campaign manager working for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) in his attempt at garnering the Democratic nomination for the Presidential run. When Meyers gets caught up in multiple scandals involving the sweet intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), the lead campaign manager Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the rival manager Tom (Paul Giamatti), and his “trusted” correspondent Ida (Marisa Tomei), Stephen learns that the game of politics is closer to all out war than anything else.

The obvious talking point of Ides is its social commentary on the way in which campaigns are run. Watching Stephen twist the smallest of events in favor of his nominee or to the detriment of his opponent is the most exciting and intriguing piece of the film—albeit a small one. Instead, the majority of the film focuses on the scandals—much in the way the media would focus on a scandal in real life.

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The underground dealings related to these multifarious scandals become the spotlight of the film. Clooney, as writer and director, clearly was trying to make a point that even when nothing is outwardly affecting a campaign, something nefarious is boiling underneath the surface. Furthermore, we are given an insight into how nothing remains remotely sacred in the world of politics.

With a cast like this, there’s very little that can go wrong. Each and every actor provides strength to the film, even Wood as the troubled Molly. Gosling, as the focal point, sways in his portrayal of Stephen, who rapidly goes from collected wordsmith to frantic avenger on a warpath. During Stephen’s most unhinged moments, Gosling still incorporates the steely complexion of a man under control when it is apparent Stephen is anything but.

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Ultimately, The Ides of March displays the rampant injustice in our electoral system that is supposedly leading to justice. It cements the notion that politics is not for the weak-willed. Film-wise, I just wanted more Giamatti and Tomei. Yet, there are worse political drama-thrillers on the market than this.

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