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Ides of March - Entertaining Politcal Thriller

When did everyone get so cynical? Repeatedly in reviews of this movie, you see critics say something like, "Not a bad movie, but tell us something we didn't already know about American politics." If this is what we already know - if it really is this down and dirty - then we might as well just all give up and stop voting now. Personally, I found The Ides of March highly entertaining and unpredictable. George Clooney is especially appealing as an all-the-right-answers presidential candidate, as is Evan Rachel Woods as the sexy intern at his headquarters. (Woods really steals the show.) Ryan Gosling continues to be underwhelming to me in movies (see "Drive"), but it was particularly unwise to put his brand of blandness right there beside the blinding star wattage of Clooney. Not a good move at all. Oh, and while Philip Seymour Hoffman does that thing he always does in movies where he's really emphatic and his hair flops around during his colloquies, this movie just affirms he's one of the best actors in the business (same goes for Paul Giamatti).

There are a number of smart, good beats in The Ides of March (pay attention to the cell phone snafu between Woods and Gosling in the hotel room), so it's almost certain you will walk out of the theater with a feeling of satisfaction in having chosen something intelligent. The only thing I didn't care for was the last couple scenes where Clooney attempts to drive home the tragic unraveling of Gosling's moral center. It felt too heavy handed, like Clooney was screaming at us "This is an important movie!" which, of course, has the opposite effect.

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