Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ides of March 2011


Just in time for the campaign of 2012 comes this glib and somewhat condescending little political drama starring George Clooney (who also directed) as a charismatic governor who as the film opens is running for president of the country. The action (if one can call it that) takes place over a period of days in Ohio where Clooney is running neck to neck in the democratic primary with a somewhat phantom (we never really see him) rival. Dirty deals and political intrigues abound as his two top advisors played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling finagle, lie and coerce in order to get him over the top, and on his way to the nomination.  Clooney is not covering anything new in this sub genre, we’ve seen it all before from The Great McGinty (politics as surreal satire) to Primary Colors (thinly disguised Bill and Hilary take on the world).  All the clichés and stereotypical characters are in place, and most are entertaining and well acted by Hoffman, a ferocious Paul Giamatti  as the rival’s main advisor and a rodent like and very fine Marisa Tomei as a prying journalist. A predictable and dull scandal erupts that threatens to bring Clooney down, and I was somewhat bothered by the unnecessary lamb to the slaughter plot device that happens to the most vulnerable character and by the cynical and expected ending. Still it’s not a boring or bad film mostly because of its short running time. If only the current political campaign was this short.  


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