The Ides of March (2011)
Rated – R
Directed by George Clooney
Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood
Did you get the memo? 2011 is the year of Ryan Gosling. With Crazy, Stupid, Love and Drive already on his resume for the year, The Ides of March stands as his third film and arguably his best. Supplied with an outstanding supporting cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood, and Paul Giamatti, The Ides of March is a power-house film.
Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) is making his bid for the White House with a campaign team of Paul Philip (Hoffman) and Stephen Meyers (Gosling). Philip has been around the block plenty of times while Meyers is still young and very optimistic about what kind of change Morris can do for the United States and the rest of the world. What we witness throughout the film is that brightness and spunk quickly fade away from the scandals and corruption of politics.
There is nothing new with the way The Ides of March presents itself. A political film about greed, sex, and ethics? Yes, you’ve seen this movie before, but what those other films don’t have is Ryan Gosling in his prime. Of course, surrounding him with an all-star cast only makes him better, but this is truly Gosling’s film from the first scene to the very end. His Stephen Meyers starts with the grand idea that he could change the world through the man he trusts the most. He wants to play this game and believes he is an important player, but he finds out that the game is a lot bigger than he expected.
Even though The Ides of March has an incredibly simple plot, it takes this simplicity and enhances it with some remarkable performances all around. Outside of politics, the film stresses that the world is a harsh and deeply problematic place where naivete is truly bliss. There are those who share the innocence of believing that change is on the horizon and good will prevail, and then there are those who have seen the evil that exists on a daily basis. The Ides of March takes us through Meyers’ conversion.
Compared with the rest of Ryan Gosling’s work, I’d have to say his Stephen Meyers is one of the best performances to date. It’s more vulnerable than his role in Drive and contains a lot more depth than his roles in Blue Valentine. I still love his performance in Lars and the Real Girl the most, but the way he controls every one of his scenes in The Ides of March is worthy of praise. He’s been touted as the actor with a bright future. Well, the future has finally arrived.