Most people have heard the saying, “Beware the Ides of March.” That date is infamous thanks to the plot that ended in the murder of Julius Caesar. One of the 23 fatal stab wounds was delivered by Brutus, Caesar’s friend, making March 15 synonymous with betrayal. Likewise, betrayal is one of the themes of the film, “Ides of March,” in theaters now.
“The Ides of March” is based upon the play called “Farragut North.” The twisty political thriller is directed and coproduced by George Clooney, who also helped pen the adapted screenplay. Given Clooney’s success with the direction and writing for “Good Night, Good Luck,” another intelligent film, I was eager to watch the new picture.
Toss in my favorite male actor, Ryan Gosling, and acting heavyweights Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei and you’re sure to have a winner.
In fact, I was certain “The Ides of March” would be a whole lot like the 1996 film, “City Hall,” starring Al Pacino and John Cusack. I wasn’t wrong, either.
In “The Ides of March,” Gosling is a 30-year-old junior campaign manager for the Democratic presidential candidate, acted by Clooney. Clooney is at war with another Democrat to win Ohio’s nomination. Hoffman is Clooney’s senior campaign manager, but everyone knows Gosling is the rising star on the team and Clooney’s secret weapon. Gosling’s only weakness is some idealism. He actually believes in his candidate.
When Giamatti, the rival’s campaign manager, tries to lure Gosling to his camp, it creates a domino effect where Gosling’s career, the life of a young intern and the presidency are all at stake. The question becomes, who is betraying whom?
Nobody acts poorly in this picture. Clooney’s direction is sharp and keen. Gosling is a leading man, quickly climbing to the level of Leonardo DiCaprio and, well, George Clooney.
I’m a fan!
If you liked “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Michael Clayton” and “The Contender,” you’ll enjoy “The Ides of March.”