Sunday, October 30, 2011

'The Ides of March': Ugly Topic, Ugly (But Good) Movie

At just about the moment you're lulled into believing "The Ides of March" is a slick remake of Robert Redford's 1960s "The Candidate," the bottom falls out and this fine political thriller gets real--and ugly.

The Ides of March has a lineup of front-line actors, director, producers and everything that assures its presence at the next Oscars and in a lineup like this you almost expect a character actor to steal the show. This time, two character actors--Paul Giamatti and Phillip Seymour Hoffman--seal that expectation with dead-on characterizations of front-rank political operatives in this take-no-prisoners presidential campaign game. There's also Marisa Tomei's New York Times reporter that is worth watching over and over. She's as soulless and vile as any of the candidates.

Politics is ugly and this movie shows the dirt. It begins with a second-banana political operative (Ryan Gosling), a naive newbie who truly believes George Clooney's Mike Morris is a candidate from heaven, sent to rescue us all. Clooney, who directs and is one of a list of producers, is much like Barack Obama in the early days and even the campaign posters mock 2008. The Republicans, whom we never see since this is a Democratic primary, are much like the field we're watching self-destruct right now--a group of certifiable nutcases.

But the move is much more of a statement about what we aren't than what we are as a political nation and what it says tells us exactly why we keep getting these losers in political office. The game simply is not for those who have any conscience, any morality, any thought at all of anything but winning office and staying there once it's won.

This is an interesting look at an ugly human activity right in-season. See it and weep for us all.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but like you said, it was ugly. I am a huge Gosling fan, definitely. "Drive" is my favorite of his work...great post, c