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Ides of March

Ryan Gosling in Ides of March
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Sunday February 26th, 2012

The Ides of March might look like it has something to say about our politics, but it is much more a commentary on our nature as a species.  Which is to say it is not always the most uplifting film, but if you are willing to sit through a study in cynicism and ruthlessness it's a classic.

If that doesn't sound inspiring, then perhaps having the hottest star in Hollywood is another selling point.  Of course I'm talking about Ryan Gosling, the Sexiest Man Alive that wasn't in 2011.  Unfortunately for the ladies he mostly keeps his shirt on in this one.

With all jealousy aside, I must give credit where it is do.  The guy is a great performer and he holds his own against an absolute all-star team of award winning actors. The role of Stephen Meyers was apparently bounced between Leonardo Decaprio and Chris Pine among others, but I think that Gosling was an ideal choice.  As a senior campaign manager for George Clooney's Governor Mike Morris we are lead to associate with his idealism only to later question our own character as Meyer's is challenged.

The film is directed, co-produced, and co-written by Clooney, but it is based on the play Farragut North. There is a quickness of pace and pithiness of dialogue that would lend itself to the stage were that not the point of origin for this material. Perhaps some of that feeling is also due to the  directorial touch of Clooney. There is a dryness and an efficiency to many of his productions I can't quite put my finger on.

Sadly, in the hands of anyone else the film may have had a better box office as I suspect his political associations may have turned off many conservatives expecting a lecture on liberal values.  But as I said, the film is not really political.  That is really just the backdrop and perhaps the outcome.  The story of deception, and double crossing leaves one questioning principals that are far more fundamental than ideological.

The real pleasure of the film (beyond Gosling's dreamy eyes for the ladies) is to watch the clash between  the likes of Clooney,  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Jeffrey Wright at their most venal and self interested. Each one doing their best to gut the other professionally in the interest of building a better world and brighter tomorrow.