George Clooney brings us some well-made but ultimately familiar ides.
Competent. Cohesive. Common. It’s not that one needs to beware The Ides of March, but it’s hardly anything we haven’t seen before. On the off chance that you’ve somehow managed to miss the plot of TIFF’s 2011 darling, Ides takes place during the Ohio democratic primaries, following the campaign of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) whose bid for leader of the DNP is led by Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling). For those who aren’t poli sci buffs or The West Wing fans this is a crucial race since, as the CNN pundits say: “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” While Stephen is an idealistic straight shooter, after discovering his hero Morris is merely mortal he begins to play rough and dirty to get ahead.
Excuse the use of well-worn idioms, however, and the tale itself is rather well trodden. That being said, it is a classic “talkie” film, as Clooney returns to his Good Night, and Good Luck style, letting the camerawork take a back seat to the impressive ensemble cast, including everyone from Marisa Tomei as the tough-as-nails New York Times reporter and Paul Giamatti as the rival campaign manager whose bark matches his bite. Rushing to a predictable denouement, The Ides of March isn’t a dud but it doesn’t dazzle either.