An excellent adapted screenplay with brisk, well-paced writing. A fantastic ensemble cast coupled with stellar performances by all, particularly its stars Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, and Evan Rachel Wood. The best part of this film is its subtlety; while Clooney the actor plays a cool but passionate politician hot on the campaign trail, Clooney the director masterfully turns the script into an incredibly realistic and intricate world in a way comparable to “The Wire”. The subtleness of the film was efficient, as well; we don’t hear any unnecessary dialogues, we are not bombarded by tense background score for no reason.
In another review of this film, the writer claimed that the climax was hardly climatic at all because it happened off-screen. I believe it was precisely Clooney’s point not to show this scene (along with perhaps one or two others) to the audience because they don’t contribute much in walking us through the story with the background theme that politics is a dirty game and it is no place for anyone who hasn’t cast their morals or ideals aside and do whatever they can to get what they want.
I haven’t seen Ryan Gosling in many films, but it was certain a pleasure to to watch him shine on this film, playing a character struggling to fight his own morals and ideals, and find a medium between coolheaded-ness and panic.
Praises aside, I would point out that this is a fairly straightforward political drama-thriller. There is nothing too ‘deep’ about this film; the plot, while complex and subtle, isn’t anything groundbreaking or indecipherable. There are no poetic imagery or allusions, although it does perhaps give us many glimpses of Clooney’s personal political views (that, or he makes his character, a Presidential candidate, say things that he’d like Barack Obama, the current President of the United States, to say).
I am always turned off of politics whenever I see films like “The Ides of March” and shows like “The Wire” because they are so realistic in depicting how dirty it is and pretty much kills any aspirations I might have had in having a life in politics, but it certainly provides the platform for great scripts and damn good entertainment.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright
Directed by George Clooney
Adapted screenplay by: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon