The Ides of March (US, 2011)

The Candidate for the 21st century

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.

2 Responses

  1. YES! Someone who thought it was great as well. I was surprised to see it get a muted critical reaction across the board but I thought it was really intelligent, really well written and really well acted. Clooney is using his star power to fight the corner for very interesting and challenging projects. Ides of March was terrific, maybe not as good as Good Night and Good Luck, but still very fine.

  2. […] striking that, although it was made 40 years before The Ides of March,The Candidate is almost as up-to-date. The cynicism, alongside extraordinary naiveté, that […]

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