Review – The Ides of March

Politics can be compared to a game of chess or a game of poker. I prefer the poker analogy because there are more dickheads that play poker. In politics you have to bluff, hedge your bets and keep your cards close to your chest. The players with the most chips have all the power but their judgment is easily corrupted by greed. Politics is a dirty game and power is the currency of decision makers around the world. ‘The Ides of March’ is a gripping look at what it takes to succeed in order to obtain power.

The United States presidential election is in full swing and Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is a superstar candidate who is doing everything right on the road to the White House. It’s all thanks to the hard work of his campaign manager Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his right hand man Stephen (Ryan Gosling). When a rival candidate’s campaign manager Tom (Paul Giamatti) offers Stephen the chance to jump ship, his loyalty and ideals are questioned, and he gets a lesson in the rough world of politics.

What’s shocking about ‘The Ides of March’ is how easily the story could fit into the political section of any newspaper around the world, and maybe make it onto the front page. The only people that know the reality of the political game are those who have experienced it, the rest of us just imagine it’s like an episode of ‘The West Wing’. It’s a gripping story with plenty of twists thanks to sharp writing from Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon.

Some of the political chit-chat tends to become a little tiring and a bit of knowledge of the American political system is needed to fully understand it. Clooney is also on directing duties and does a great job of giving the story clarity on paper and on screen.

There are elements of a Shakespearian political drama at work in ‘The Ides of March’ and the cast bring the world to life in spectacular style. Gosling is magnetic as the leading man casting a shadow over Clooney who appears in a very small but important role. Hoffman and Giamatti are fantastic and the ladies are well represented by Marissa Tomei and Rachel Evan Wood.

‘The Ides of March’ is a classic tale of power and politics told well by a very talented actor who might be an even better filmmaker.

4/5

‘The Ides of March’ is now showing.

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