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'The Ides of March': A treacherous road to election

Our guide is Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling), a media savvy junior campaign manager for Pennsylvania Gov. Mike Morris (Clooney). Much like Caesar was forewarned of his demise by a soothsayer in William Shakespeares Julius Caesar, Myers is warned by New York Times reporter Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei) that politicians have a habit of letting people down. Myers fervently believes that Morris is the one candidate that will not let him or the country down. Hes the only one that is actually going to make a difference in peoples lives, says the passionate staffer. He has to win.

His fiercely loyal mentor and friend Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), hardened by years on the campaign trail, has lost this wide-eyed enthusiasm. Zara is confident that Morris is capable of winning the Democratic presidential nomination, but knows better than to guarantee a victory.

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Myers gets involved with young campaign intern Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood), who just so happens to be the daughter of Democratic National Committee Chairman Jack Stearns (Gregory Itzin). His loyalty is also tested when he meets with Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the campaign manager for Arkansas Sen. Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell), Morris' bible-thumping opponent.

Before long, Myers discovers that Morris is not quite as infallible as originally thought. Morris harbors a dark secret that if made public would derail his entire campaign. This and a mistake Myers, himself, has committed positions Myers at an ethical impasse as he must decide the right course of action to take.

Clooney and cinematographer Phedon Papamichael present us with some magnificent visuals. One stunning shot features a glum Myers sitting in the front seat of his car while outside raindrops roll down the windshield and reflect onto Myers face as if they we're tears. Clooney clearly has seen Richard Brooks 1967 classic In Cold Blood, as this shot is notably similar to the iconic shot towards the end of that film. In that scene Robert Blake, playing Perry Smith, stands beside a window with his reflection seen in said window while outside raindrops roll down the window, giving the appearance of tears rolling down Smiths cheeks. Clooney and Papamichael also chose to shroud much of the proceedings in shadow and to employ the use of tight framing, adding to the air of apprehension.

Clooney, Heslov and Willimon have written a searingly smart and cynical screenplay filled with juicy dialogue, whose words flow smoothly from the lips of the actors to our ears. They are also quite adept at creating suspense throughout.

The film is filled with phenomenal performances. Gosling is compelling as a young idealistic staffer, forced into the world of dirty politics. Clooney is exceptional as a presidential candidate who is not quite as squeaky clean as he looks. Hoffman is terrific as a highly talented, but paranoid campaign manager. Giamatti is stellar as a sycophantic and conniving campaign manager. The always lovely and wonderful Wood is great as a young intern, caught up in the political whirlwind. She also has a nice, easy flowing rapport with Gosling. Tomei is excellent as a New York Times reporter, always looking for the next big scoop. Jeffrey Wrightin a small yet pivotal role is great as a Senator up for grabs. Jennifer Ehle does well in a miniscule role as Gov. Morris supportive wife. Lastly, Max Minghella of The Social Network is good as Myers understudy.

Alexandre Desplat gives the film an effervescent and pulse-racing score, adding a great deal of anxiety to the already tense film.

Posted in Agriculture Post Date 06/01/2021


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