Welcome ‘The Ides of March’

Article Published: Oct. 13, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 18, 2011
Welcome ‘The Ides of March’

Ryan Gosling and George Clooney star in ‘The Ides of March.’

Politics are dirty.

It’s a common sentiment, one with which we’re all, perhaps, a bit too familiar.
On the other hand, it’s the perfect arena for morality tales.

Like so, “The Ides of March” feels right at home, delivering thoughtful drama with top-notch performances from an outstanding cast.

Combined with a compelling narrative, co-written by star George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), astute direction (also from Clooney) and clever cinematography from Phedon Papamichael (2007’s “3:10 to Yuma”), this makes for an award-worthy drama of presidential proportions.

Ryan Gosling (“Drive”) stars as Stephen Myers, press secretary for up-and-coming presidential candidate Gov. Mike Morris (Clooney). A veteran of the campaign trail at only 30, the idealistic Myers says he only supports ideals in which he strongly believes, and Morris fits the bill.

In his eyes, and many others’, Morris is a perfect fit for the oval office – but almost too perfect.

When Myers discovers Morris’s dirty little secret, he’s faced with a slew of moral dilemmas, the results of which will absolutely affect Morris’s campaign and Myers’s own moral standing.

Though politics abound, “The Ides of March” is not necessarily a political drama. It’s a morality tale, and a frightening one at that. Clooney doesn’t deliver any blows in his direction, but rather confirms our suspicion that anyone in politics, no matter how earnest, can be corrupted.

The scariest part is how easy it seems, by circumstance alone, to join the dark side, and that’s where Clooney hits his mark. The film progresses comfortably, coolly immersing viewers in its narrative – so much so that when the you-know-what hits the fan, we’re right there on the blades before we even know it.

“The Ides of March” doesn’t delve into new territory, but the way it maps this familiar territory is brilliant. Standout performances from Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Moneyball”) and Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”) are the stuff of awards season, while Clooney’s skill at direction achieves new heights.

“The Ides of March,” rated R for pervasive language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 11 or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com.

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