Falling Cigarettes – Ides of March at the London Film Festival

Ides Of March

© Gabor Harmi

“F****** the intern girl is the worst thing you can do on your campaign.” The latest film directed by George Clooney starring himself, Rying Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood just premiered today at the London Film Festival. The Ides Of March is not Shakespearean at all – although it is about cleaning ourselves in public and darkening our soul in the back. The goal of the game is not insignificant; who is going to be the President of the United States? Whoever gets to the White House with all his crew will all become winners. Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) has the opportunity to be one of these lucky people. But he meets the enemy, and this leads to a chain reaction that cannot be solved without cruelty.

Stephen is an ambitious young press spokesman for the democratic candidate, Morris, but he can be easily tricked, so when the big rival player Duffy meets him, he is lost. The only question of the film is how to get lost. Clooney says at the press conference that he is interested in “making films that raise questions”. He plays with the plot and leads the story with many little details smartly, using character establishment in a new way but the dialogues, the frame compositions and the story itself is not as brave as it could be. This story has a great potential to show the true life of politics in our present world but it doesn’t dare enough to bite big. Clooney and his hopeful Morris character is shallow and simple, quite like the relationship of Stephen and the intern girl. Every character is on a slide-down except for Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) – the campaign manager whose great character is saved from this world. His lonely cigarette falling from the top of the bin on the street is the best moment of the picture. But the story of the intern, the awkward Molly character (Evan Rachel Wood) is the most tragic of all and the film doesn’t seem to care about her at all. No one seems to care about anyone except for one objective: winning.

The Ides of March Trailer

The most interesting thing that was on my mind watching The Ides of March was the influence of Clooney’s acting in general, on all the different performances. His acting style, as a director, became somehow significant throughout the whole film and this is shared by the other actors. For this experience it is worth watching Ides of March to understand the different levels of performances, the weird changes and developments. Just before the 2012 elections during a turbulent time for global politics, Clooney’s film is rather current and topical but sadly Ides Of March is not the striking movie I had hoped for.

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