The Ides of March – A Movie Review

Alison JamesAlison's Commentary

A thin panoply of patriotism and honor is pierced by an interplay of political maneuvering in this drama about the Democratic presidential candidate and Governor of Pennsylvania, Mike Morris (played by George Clooney) and his campaign manager, Steven Myers (played by Ryan Gosling) in this adaptation of Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North.

While the movie’s auspicious title does not mark the assassination of a potential American “Caesar”, the death of trust, loyalty and dignity are the hallmark of this interpretation of the competition between the Democratic and Republican candidates to enlist Ohio’s support to win the nomination.  While we may want to accept at face value the outward persona and veneer of good intentions of Mike Morris, we discover (surprise, surprise) that he is not as “squeaky-clean” as we would like to believe. To boot, his right-hand man, Steven Myers, is lured by curiosity on to a circuitous route of circumstances that takes him downward on the likes of Benjamin Disraeli’s slippery pole, but through his own conniving power play he and Mike Morris end up “on top” — but at what price? The death of an attractive and flirtatious intern, who becomes a pivotal figure in their lives, is a lurid reality of all this political mayhem, intrigue and innuendo.

Ultimately, Ryan Gosling looks as stunned and shaken-up as we may feel as a result of this rapacious game play, as riveting as the story may be. I left the cinema stunned and numbed, so glad it was only a movie …