The Ides Of March

Sometimes the best political thrillers are the ones that strip away the politics for something else surprising and .. cinematic ! The George Clooney directed The Ides Of March is such an example except it never fully realizes what it sets out to do. The schizophrenic pace that Clooney conceives here left me thinking that the writer-director-actor did not really know what kind of movie he really wanted to make. It does have some well made suspense running thought its tightly nit 96 minute running time and excellent performances from a truly talented cast that includes the great Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti yet I felt like something was missing. Clooney, never one to shy away from political opinion, takes no prisoners in his account of how torridly corrupt the political process and its players are. Is this news? don't we already know all this? Only the most naive and gullible of people would find all of this surprising. Clooney hammers his message down our throats so much that he commits missteps along the way by devising plot twists that don't make the entire film's potential come through.

Political thrillers have a way to truly suck me into their stories, this one did that at times but not enough to truly call it a solid movie. Clooney has already shown us he's a good director with his Journalism school staple Good Night and Good Luck earning him a few Oscar noms in 2005. In this film he modifies the stylistic approach he brought to that film for a more 70's look. It's no surprise then that he's to have taken some of the classics of that period in time as influences when making this film. His intentions are in the right place yet the story isn't substantial enough to warrant an extraordinary reaction from critics and audiences. The Oscar hopes that were set for the film way back since its initial premiere at the Toronto Film Festival seem to have been pre-matured and not exactly in the right place. Don't get me wrong it's an intriguing project but it didn't live up to its potential.