Sat 14 Jan 2012
2012 is an electoral year in the United States, and every electoral year is preceded by a few months by the electoral films year. It must be a few months in advance which makes the electoral films year be a little different than the calendar year, but, hey, we do have the financial year, not to speak about various religious years and all are different. There are at least two good reasons for the electoral films year being different than the calendar year – the Oscars season, of course, and the fact than by June or September the real thing becomes too interesting for the Americans to care about movies any longer. So the time to watch electoral movies is about now, and The Ides of March is probably the first significant movie of electoral films year 2012.
George Clooney is again here in front of the cameras as democratic presidential candidate governor Morris and behind the cameras as the director of Ides of March. I liked his work in Good Night, and Good Luck and I liked it here again. He has a precise hand, a good cinematographic feel, is inspired in casting and directs well his actors. However the show is completely stolen by Ryan Gosling, the actor who seems to dominate the season and is better and better each film I see him in. In a focused performance Gosling succeeds to bring to screen the vision, the hope, the doubts, the ambitions of political manager Stephen Meyers who in a matter of a few campaign days apparently makes the transition from idealism to real-politik campaigner and has to decide on the delicate balance between personal truth and the greater goals of politics. Philip Seymour Hoffman who has disappeared from my radar screen after a few great roles is back with a key role in the story, Marisa Tomei has a smaller role than I would have liked but it’s always a pleasure to see her, Paul Giamatti and Evan Rachel Wood are fine in a balanced and well directed cast. The Ides of March works well without being astonishing.
Passionates of the genre and of American politics, George Clooney and Ryan Gosling’s fans will all love the film. The rest of us can watch it as a reasonably well made and well acted political thriller, and as a story of political coming-to-age in today’s American system, as well as an undeniable sign that the electoral films year has really started. There is one story line which seemed all by neglected to me and this is the personal tragedy of the young intern which is just a pretext in the development of the drama of the main characters. For once I think that what this movie lacks is a small dose of melodrama.