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October 8, 2011 | 2:49 p.m. CST
“Beware the ides of March,” a soothsayer warns Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. This expression and the political upheaval it references serves as the title for George Clooney’s latest foray into directing, but it may be more wishful thinking on his part than an actual warning. The Ides of March endeavors to present audiences with scandal and corruption worthy of Shakespeare, but there is nothing super shocking about the plot or the message.
Lack of thrills aside, The Ides of March has some stellar acting by a superb cast. George Clooney co-wrote and directed the movie. He also took on the role of a governor attempting to receive the Democratic nomination by winning the Ohio primary (which, incidentally, takes place in March). As with the other films Clooney has directed, he chose to give the meatier roles to other actors.Related Movie
Ryan Gosling is an affable political wunderkind who experiences, with increasingly intense forlorn expressions, a loss of innocence about the true nature of politics. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti portray campaign managers for opposing Democratic candidates, and are characteristically convincing as quick-witted and cutthroat head honchos. Hoffmann and Giamatti, along with a New York Times reporter, Marisa Tomei, carry the most entertaining scenes in the movie, but this is no surprise considering their well-documented acting prowess. Evan Rachel Wood rounds out the cast as a beautiful young intern, who engages in inappropriate relationships with powerful men.
The cast is the redeeming aspect of a film that fails to live up to its notorious title. Is it thrilling and eye-opening? No. Is it entertaining? Sure. It’s kind of like a political candidate who’s hoping not to step on too many toes. He’ll tell you what you expect without saying anything shocking or game changing, but at least he’ll have nice hair and wear a killer suit.