A Dreamer Walking

The Ides of March- Review

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on October 14, 2011

The Ides of March is a well put together film. It has an all-star cast and the director George Clooney did a great job with its shooting and pacing. Clooney was also one of the stars and co-writers of The Ides of March. He went about creating the film in a very simple and clear way. Nothing was over used. There weren’t too many cuts, the score was played sparingly, and there were several cases where Clooney restricted what the camera revealed so we as an audience got more involved with the picture. However, none of this stuff makes a great movie.

The story is always the most important thing in a film. The cutting, score,  actors, and camera movements are only there to further the plot and get us more involved with the story. For The Ides of March, the story was hardly worth telling. Clooney said nothing new with this film and he tried to create entertainment through completely deceiving the audience. We are given characters who have good ideals, who seem to have integrity, and love for their fellow citizens and then out of nowhere they betray us. We find out that the characters who we believed in are truly as corrupt as everyone else. The point of the film seems to be “Politics is full of corruption”, a point that has been played in movies a million times over and something the audience already knows.

Another problem was the fact that we are told so much more then we are shown. The movie starts on a character named Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling). Stephen is fully devoted to Governor Mike Morris, a Democrat in the middle of his run for the presidency. We are told again and again in the film that Stephen is good at what he does. People say he has this charisma that makes everyone trust him. He is described as an excellent campaign secretary.  However, we never really see this charisma or understand how he is so good as a campaign secretary. He gives us and the characters around him all the reason to trust him, yet he is pushed out of the campaign by his own people. We are also told in this movie that running a campaign is a lot of hard work. Yet, the movie starts right in the middle of the campaign. The movie starts at the time of the corruption, we don’t see what caused the corruption. We don’t see the wear and tear of the campaign. We don’t quite understand how it could turn people who were good to evil.

The thing that really stops the movie from working however, is the motivation factor for Stephen. For some reason Stephen believes in Mike Morris at the beginning of the film. But, we don’t really understand why. Because we don’t understand what he sees in Morris we don’t understand his dedication to the campaign. The movie almost completely avoids the actual issues that come with running for a public office such as the president of the United States. Each one of Morris’ staff members verbally express how much they believe in him, yet we are never shown a scene where they need to back up their beliefs in his policies. Maybe that was the point of the movie. Maybe the point was that people run for president because they want to win, not because they believe in what they or their leader says. But if that is the point of the movie, why should we care for any of the characters?

In The Ides of March the twist becomes more important then the actual reasons behind the twist. If we as an audience can’t understand why a character would do what he or she does, we won’t believe it when it happens. We are left unsatisfied not because we aren’t surprised, but rather because we don’t understand and thus do not care. The film is full of cliche’s. We have the misunderstood hero, the naive victim, and the unexpected villain. The reason why they feel cliche is because we don’t understand or don’t care about their motives. Motive is what makes things unique. Many people have punched another person, however they all have different reasons they did what they did. The story of the why is often far more interesting then the final result. We don’t get to know Stephen at a personal level. We don’t know why he believes in Morris and we don’t know why he is in politics. Ryon Gosling gives Stephen a natural sympathy through some great acting, but that can only go so far and our empathy for Stephen only goes skin deep.

The Ides of March will most likely keep you interested for it’s 102 minutes of running time. However, the characters are quite forgettable and the story seems forced. The film does nothing new. It is no doubt clear that George Clooney knows how to shoot a film, but his cause will most likely leave you unsatisfied. The movie keeps our attention because of fine use of cinema and exceptional performances from an all-star cast. However, I am left wishing the story was on a par with the filmmakers and actors who are telling the story.

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