Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ides Of March

The Flick: The Ides Of March

The Peeps: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jennifer Ehle, etc.

The Dealio: Candidate Morris (Clooney)- war hero, Democrat, sitting guv, family man, solid citizen who can reach the young, etc, etc- is locked into a primary battle in the state of Ohio and is pulling out all the stops in order to win the coveted berth at 1600 PA Ave. One of the very best tricks he has up his sleeves is whip-smart, young, incisive gunslinger and press-tamer Steven Myers (Gosling, with his patented dead-eyed stare and thin-lipped disapproval ratcheted way up to 11). Just when it seems the two candidates are deadlocked, the two campaign managers on opposite sides of this battle, both make a play for Steven. And the house of cards begins to disassemble. What happens next is hardly original, although Clooney- who also directed and co-wrote the piece- leaves the final denouement up for grabs (don't you just hate it when Probst says that every week?).

The Grading Session: 4 pengies out of 5. A little too long, a few too many cliches, but an engaging and involving movie, this film could stand a little off the sides and neaten up the back. So to speak. The frozen, gimlet-eyed demeanor of Gosling's Steven is becoming a bit too standard- I got bushels of it in Drive- and would welcome a change-up with a bit more of a look inside the man betrayed. Or betraying?

Lessons Learned: Kinda cliches in their own right: never trust a politician. Especially one who says, 'Don't vote for me, in fact.' This is the guy who would outfit his parents with cement overshoes for 10 electoral votes. Then call himself a lone orphan in order to scoop up the remaining EVs. Then, too, this: the press is not your friend. Don't ever make the mistake of confusing avidity for the story with interest in you and your well-being. A reporter is as interested in your well-being as you are in his/hers. Lastly this: if you think you will be left standing, unharmed, when you bring down everything around you, consider, long and hard, the destructive nature of the earthquake. And think again about what is about to be destroyed.

Notable quotables: To Steven:'We are not friends. We are on opposite sides of the same story. It benefits you to let me shape the news. It is in my best interest to be the first one to get my hands on the news.' (Later, the same character will ask Steven, 'Aren't we friends any more?' To which he responds, 'You are my best friend.')
'There is nothing, nothing, I value more than loyalty. I thought you knew that about me.' (Said, by one campaign manager, to justify betraying someone and throwing that person to the wolves).

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