Film Review: The Ides of March


Title: The Ides of March

Director: George Clooney

Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti

Release Date: October 28th

If Ben & Jerry’s are looking for more novelty referential names in line with ‘Cheri Garcia’ or ‘Phish Food’, they should consider renaming their vanilla flavour ‘The Ides of March’. Admittedly, that is an incredibly lame joke but at the same time the comparison to vanilla ice cream is more apt than you may think. Both are bland, both are incredibly white and both have a liberal agenda which becomes hollow when you remember the people delivering the message. Something about Ben & Jerry’s assuring me they employ local bakers to make their brownies while presumably flying to Ecuador to get their cocoa beans strikes the same chord as George Clooney telling me capitalism is flawed from his directorial chair on a multi-million dollar movie in which he also stars.

The Ides of March follows a young political consultant, played by Ryan Gosling (Drive), while he aids the campaign of a governor (George Clooney) in a difficult race for the democratic presidential nomination. The film sees itself as something of a political thriller, and for its moments of snappy dialogue and overlapping political deceit, it is.

Sadly this action stays confined to a disappointingly short second act sandwiched between a two slices of mediocrity. While the second act is quick and energetic, the first and third are mismatches of ambiguous political commentary and tedious romance stories. There are some nice performances from Clooney and Paul Giamatti (Sideways), but the trite relationship between Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler) proves annoying.

Ides of March appears to be attempting to cash in on dissatisfaction with the Obama administration. Clooney is making a movie critical of the two-party system while peppering it with a number of other topical liberal issues to entice any other Academy members left wanting. This is Oscar bait with no real substance, which ends the moment it starts to become interesting.

It cannot be denied that this is a slick production with a strong second act but don’t expect it to be saying anything as important as the film seems to think it is. Come awards season, it will definitely be drowning in statuettes, but years from now it will only be remembered as the Ryan Gosling film where he didn’t take his shirt off.

In a Nutshell: Like a sloth being poked with a cattle prod – a slow start and a quick jolt of life in the middle with a messy ending.