Sunday, December 04, 2011
#251: The Ides of March
Do me a favor. Shut your eyes and picture these names one after the other.
Marisa Tomei. Evan Rachel Wood. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Paul Giamati. Ryan Gosling. George Clooney.
Its quite possible that everytime the name came to your mind you immediately related the particular actor with a particular movie. You know why ? Because each of them on their own are good enough to carry a movie on their shoulders. And now imagine all of them in one movie. Too much to ask ? Expect ? Well, not quite because The Ides of March combines all these actors and ekes a film that's so superior that you don't think about any of these actors individually but what the film did to you and the answer in one word is- breathtaking.
The credit for the film should actually go to the original playwright. This is a film that's all about it's story - its wicked twists and turns, power struggles and larger themes of loyalty and friendship and in many ways simply about someone being in the right place at the right time. Adapted from a Beau Wilimon play, the film was written for the screen by Grant Heslov, Wilimon and Clooney himself. We all know Clooney as a director has a nose for films. All his previous films leave you wanting for more and this is no different. What is remarkable is once again as in Good Night and Good Luck, Clooney lets someone else play the lead. And that someone in the case of The Ides of March is Ryan Gosling.
Gosling owns the character of Stephen Myers, a campaign manager for Presidential Candidate Mike Morris (Clooney) in the film. He is a bright and diligent manager with a sharp but principled boss (Hoffman). This team is contesting against a candidate named Pullman whose chief campaign manager is a wily Tom Duffy (Giamatti). The film takes place in a period of seven days in Ohio where the stakes are getting higher by the hour.
An excellent set of performances by the actors round up a tight plot. Clooney as the director seems to be simply conducting an orchestra of accomplished musicians. This is a nearly flawless film where every department makes a mark. The background score ranges from the hopeful to the haunting, the editing from slick to conventional and the cinematography from being scenic to poetic. There are those movies which are very good and yet a false note here and there sometimes jars the experience. Well, this isn't one of them. The screenplay works at a fast pace and is nothing short of electric. An case in point being the dialogue exchange between Hoffman and Gosling, that even towards the fag end is still as riveting.
To sum it up, I can only say this. I have seen The Ides of March twice in the last month and I think I am good for more. I don't think I can pay a film a bigger compliment.