The Ides of March (TheByteScene Review)

3-Peeked-Political-Minds out of 4

Leaving the theatre, I found that I had difficulty comprehending this film. I tried my best to like the movie; I tried my best to produce stimulating conversation with my fellow movie goers while we exited our auditorium. I tried my hardest to feign some interest in American politics and I tried my hardest to view George Clooney’s performance as a democratic Governor, hoping to be president no less, as an allegory for both President Obama and all future candidates. I tried my best to make myself believe that this film wasn’t released because next year (2012) will be the scene of another presidential election.

Sadly, however, I couldn’t do it, but it’s not because I didn’t like the movie (which I did); it’s the way the film played out. Ryan Gosling’s character, Stephen Meyers (a junior campaign manager for Clooney’s democratic candidate Mike Morris), discovers that the man he’s spent an unknown amount of time supporting has cheated on his wife, his supporters and his campaign by doing the one thing no politician is allowed to do. Meyers reacts, everyone else reacts, and the plot thickens in ways only a Clooney directed film can. The audience is left asking themselves questions that they should always ask themselves; we’re forced to wonder aloud about the state our society is in. We want accountability from those responsible and we talk with our friends about what scenes meant and why characters were played the way they were.

The problem with the film isn’t that it’s not a good movie, or even that it isn’t engaging. The problem was that the film played out in an obvious manner and, the more I reflect on it, the more it becomes clear to me that the film continually asks the audience to be cautious of who they vote for and who they place their trust in. There’s no doubt that the political state of America (and the world) is poor, at best. There’s no doubt that the world’s politicians have made mistake after mistake. There’s no doubt that voters have also made mistakes, and it’s there that the film’s hidden message makes itself clear: be careful who you trust and be careful who you believe in, because America has an election next year and everyone’s expecting the best.

I began by stating that I had difficulty comprehending this film, and I still do. However, my confusion is not thematic, but merely practical. Under every conceivable circumstance, this movie is amazing and I no doubt see Ryan Gosling going far in Hollywood (his other venture this year proved that considerably). The Ides of March, however, plays out like a public safety announcement on safe voting. “Be careful who you vote for, because even the white collar democrat can have his secrets.” The message is reasonable, and coming from the staunchly liberal Clooney, it’s difficult to believe that the character of Morris does not have basis in Clooney’s own beliefs. Throughout the film, Morris’s stance on world, and national affairs reflects Clooney’s own beliefs and, as such, the film’s message leaves a powerful impact on the audience.

I have to state that I’m not saying that George Clooney directed a film based solely on picking the right candidate for next year’s election, I just find it incredibly difficult to believe that it was coincidence that he chose to play a democrat that was such a clear allegory for Barack Obama (secrets notwithstanding, of course). That being said, I would highly recommend the film; it’s difficult not to when the cast plays out each role with relish and a hearty decadence that is an absolute pleasure to watch.

As always, this has been your Admin, the Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

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