George Clooney’s at it again, co-writing and directing a terrific political movie (see also Good Night, and Good Luck (US, 2005). It’s as if he’s, almost single-handedly, trying to resurrect the political cinema that Hollywood produced in the early 1970s. The Ides of March reminded me of The Candidate (1972); though, as I haven’t seen it for over 30 years I’m not sure how much water the comparison will hold.
Both deal with the process of becoming a presidential candidate; The Ides is a convincing portrayal of ‘behind the scenes’ of the electoral machine and an indictment of the state of American politics. Clooney plays the candidate, Govenor Mike Morris, whose policies are entirely sensible (he’s not religious but will defend the right of anyone to practice their religion as long as it doesn’t impinge upon others) but almost certainly impossible to state in the ‘land of the free’ because it’s in thrall to right-wing lunacy. There’s a real frisson hearing Clooney speak political sense; it’s similar to the moment in Bulworth (1998) when Warren Beatty’s senator invokes socialism!
A top notch cast includes Ryan Gosling as Morris’ idealistic PR advisor; Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti support. Alongside Danish TV’s Borgen (2010) it’s the best political text I’ve seen this year.