Ryan Gosling is Stephen Myers, the cocksure Junior Campaign Manager for Governor of Pennsylvania, Mike Morris (George Clooney). He’s awesome, he’s witty, he brown-noses Morris on a daily basis. Then one day, as they say in the trailers, his life is turned upside down when he is invited to a join the oppositions campaign trail and he begins a relationship with Evan Rachel Wood’s spunky intern. What’s a guy to do? Well, as Ryan Gosling is in the lead, we get lots of staring like a child who’s just been told that Father Christmas doesn’t exist.
The Ides of March wants to be so intelligent. It really does.
Everyone talks in ridiculously long sentences that can only ever happen in political movies. ‘Well, Ted, if we don’t get the vote for the 45% of the 10 members of the ABC generation in this state, then we may as well hook line and speak to the frighteners about approaching this campaign from a new angle nearer to the unions’ idea of a plate of eggs’.
Everyone furrows their brows, rolls up their sleeves, undoes their ties and look serious. We’re talking Oscar baiting seriousness. Hey, you know what Hollywood? This film has a message that needs to get out there… Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And you know politicians? They lie, man. They lie and they don’t care who gets hurt. It’s true. This film is pulling back the curtain, it’s through the looking glass, it’s pointing at other films and questioning their reason to exist.
It’s so heavy with it’s own self-importance, it gets crushed underneath the weight of it’s own bullshit.
That power corrupts is nothing new. The Godfather Part 2 pretty much wrote the book on wide-eyed innocence becoming a cold icy stare. That doesn’t instantly mean that the film is bad. It’s just it doesn’t shed any new light on to the subject. The other issue is that Gosling is so unappealing. His character is so unlikable, that you have next to no sympathy for him as the likes of Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei begin to piss on his parade. And piss they do. As Gosling stumbles like a new-born fawn from one ludicrous plot twist to the other, you wonder when he’s going to realise that he is acting like a total idiot that kind of deserves what’s happening to him. And as each bad thing that happens to him, the melodrama begins to increase. Evan Rachel Wood’s final scene genuinely made me smirk. I don’t think that was Clooney’s intention. I’m pretty sure he was going for drama. The final showdown between Gosling and Clooney is nothing more than a moodily lit wailing and gnashing of teeth to show amazing these two actors can act when they want to show how good they are at acting. OMG, they R so gud!!1
The Ides of March is so serious and aiming to be worthy, that it loses sight of what’s important. Namely characterisation and plot. Seriously, save yourself some time and pop The Godfather Part 2 back in the DVD player.