The Ides of March

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The Ides of March
Ryan Gosling, center, in The Ides of March
George Clooney’s fourth film as a director takes us to territory not unexpected of the man: behind the scenes of a modern American political campaign. Clooney acts too, although his role as Governor Morris, an Obama-lite politician striving to win a primary that will set him on the road to the White House, is mostly ceremonial, decorative even, but only because the story, adapted by Clooney and others from a Beau Willimon play, demands it. The real drama lies with the puppeteers: Morris’s press spokesman Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is being wooed by a rival campaign manager (Paul Giamatti), while a hungry intern (Evan Rachel Wood) is making eyes at Stephen over the photocopier.

The points made about politics by ‘The Ides of March’ are valid, if obvious: shit goes on behind the scenes and people in the game are shits. Who knew? Yet it’s good on the value of knowledge in political circles – and how that knowledge can be traded. There’s a dullness to the film’s edges that means it’s not cutting enough, and a late lunge for noir stylings is weak, even if all involved do their best to stress the horrible gulf between public ideals and private ambition.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday October 28 2011
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: George Clooney
Cast: Marisa Tomei
Philip Seymour Hoffman
George Clooney
Evan Rachel Wood
Paul Giamatti
Ryan Gosling

Average User Rating

2.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
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I enjoyed this film for its tension & the "dirty politics" context. I also enjoyed its take on a Democratic campaign platform. But I found that some of the actions of Ryan Gosling's character were quite unbelievable - a seasoned political professional would not have behaved in this way. This shook me loose from my enjoyment of the film.

Not being a Clooney fan I was surprised to find this political thriller good entertainment. As the political processes in the States bear no relation to the UK, I found myself having to concentrate on all the behind-the-scenes bargaining and terms. That squeaky clean George turns out to be less than snowy white doesn't come as much of a surprise. Ryan Gosling was excellent as George's political adviser - with his convincingly cool demeanour in evidence here, as it was in the excellent movie "Drive" last month. Good to see Jennifer Ehle again - but a shame such a small part. My only niggle - a very inconclusive ending - esp given George's deeds. Not a bad ending - just not as good as it could have been. Not entirely original, and not the one that will have Clooney walking away with a much coveted Oscar.  Recommended. Three stars.


For the first half hour I was seriously considering an early exit and catching the final 65 min on bbc 2 after The Review Show in 2 years time but then something (other than "telling" us top rank politics is a bit of a slimy ball affair, cheers for that) occurred to make me stay til the end. But, by the credits the first 1/3 damage was fresh in my mind still so it wasn't enough to compensate. Now, a seventy min Sun night play on bbc1 and this (given the cast) would be sensational viewing. As it is it's all a bit smug and patronising, which, given Clooney's sterling previous directorial efforts, frustrates further.4/10

enjoyable with some fine acting, but ultimately dissapointing . The last half hour in my opinion is somewhat botched. Wonder if they shot an alternative ending. Do like Seymour Hoffman and Gicametti in anything they do, and Gosling and Wood were also fine. Much preferred All the President's Men and Charlie Wilson's War though.

I thought this was a very good film. Great acting from all the main participants and good direction from Mr Clooney. The film twisted and turned and was an enjoyable political thriller. One of the 10 best films of the year so far. The TO star system still out of sorts. This was film of the week in the Observer, who seem to be more accurate with their reviews.

Disappointing. George you should try harder. Lots of good actors, not a very good script. All a bit cliched.

Not as good or as fun as Primary Colors but the great cast here still made it really worth seeing!