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The Ides of March


Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by George Clooney 
Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman  
An image from The Ides of March

A taut and tense political thriller from Hollywood all-rounder George Clooney, The Ides of March sits comfortably as one of the year’s most engaging, well-acted films, even if it’s ‘revelations’ aren’t so revolutionary.

Stephen Meyers (Gosling) is an up-and-coming political press secretary for the overly-idealistic, Democratic Governor Mike Morris (Clooney). Naive to the many games of politics, Meyers is swept along a meandering tale of lies and corruption as he soon learns more about the dirty side of government affairs, confronted along the way by opposition on both the left and the right.

Whilst the intricacies of back-stage politics may sound a bit too dry for an entertaining thriller, Clooney spares us the duller edges. Instead, it’s all angry, fast-talking, fist-banging-on-table board-room drama that would make even Alan Sugar blush. However, as the characters swirl around in a political pressure cooker we become more and more invested in their personal and moral quandaries as oppose to the bigger picture; this film isn’t about a Presidential Campaign as much as it’s about the pressures and ethical sacrifices involved in any modern profession.

Gosling is fast emerging as a bold new talent amongst other dull leading men his age, and The Ides of March provides him with another bravura performance to add to his expanding CV. As for director/star Clooney, he’s equally on top form as the suave but ethically questionable Presidential candidate Morris, a perfect mix of genuine humanity and modern-media machismo. Philip Seymour Hoffman also impresses as campaign manager Paul Zara, with Marissa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood proving that politics isn’t always one big boys’ club.

Whilst the film fails as an all out political exposé, it still charms as a contemporary tale about the limits one will go to for what is, in the end, ‘just a job’. It is here that The Ides of March provides its most relevant insight, and coupled with the strong cast, Clooney’s latest offering won’t disappoint.

Luke Woellhaf

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)