Film Review: The Ides of March

George Clooney’s The Ides of March is a sumptuous political drama. A good screenplay and great performances combine to produce a thoroughly absorbing film.

Stephen Meyers is a talented member of the campaign team for presidential hopeful Mike Morris, working under veteran manager Paul Zara. While Stephen believes in the idealistic Morris, others behind the scenes scheme in order to obtain power. Stephen quickly learns that there are those who will do anything to get their candidate ahead…

The Ides of March, based on Beau Willimon’s play, is a fairly simple morality tale set in a political context. The primary contests for politicians of the same party is a backdrop that Americans and non-Americans alike should find familiar. It is the deal making and scheming that goes on behind the scenes which are less well publicised.

Clooney’s film immerses viewers in a world of political game playing. The Ides of March is exceptionally well paced. It is one of those very rare examples of a film that could have gone on for another hour, as it is that enjoyable. The narrative works well because the core themes are complimented well by the characters and setting. Everything that occurs is entirely plausible; indeed, some of the incidents seem to have been derived from recent American history. The characters that populate the film also appear very realistic. This allows the audience to fully buy into proceedings.

Performances in The Ides of March are great all round. Lead Ryan Gosling, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti stand out in particular. George Clooney directs the film with competency. It is a very polished production.

The Ides of March should satisfy both fans of political dramas and those with no more than a passing interest. Clooney has exhibited his flair for engaging drama with this superb film.

The Ides of March is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.