Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is helping to head up the campaign to get Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) elected president. Stephen believes in what the idealistic candidate stands for. That is the reason he works for him.
Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the head man on the campaign. He’s an experienced veteran on the campaign trail. While he is out trying to secure support from another Democrat, and get his supporters to pledge their votes, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the rival campaign manager, wants to meet with Stephen. Stephen, being the honest guy he is, eventually tells Paul about the meeting.
During the work for the Ohio primary election, Stephen finds himself “meeting up” with an intern, Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood). When Molly gets a call in the middle of the night while with Stephen, that’s when the truth comes out. And everything starts falling apart. Stephen learns that the image he has of his perfect candidate may be somewhat skewed.
The Ides of March takes a look at the dark, seedy side of politics. One this country knows all too well. It seems as if some of the situations are “ripped from the headlines.” Or “inspired by true events.” They are relatable stories that have surfaced at one point or another. And I’m sure there are a fair number of Stephens, who idealize their candidate, thinking they can do know wrong. Be we all have secrets. We all have flaws. But how do you react when you find out what your idol is hiding?
The movie is about an hour and a half long. It feels much longer. Not to say that it a really slow movie. (It’s not nearly as bad as the last Ryan Gosling movie I saw. There was one scene. Where Ryan was driving. And the shot was just his profile. A little reminiscent of that movie. Just sayin’.) But it’s not a fast-paced movie, by any means. I had heard it called a “political thriller.” I don’t know if that’s a fitting title. It’s more like a “political drama.” There wasn’t really anything “thrilling” or suspenseful about it. Unless you count sitting in a black SUV with the candidate. Not hearing what is going on inside.
The story is a decent one. And it is somewhat enlightening as to what goes on behind the scenes of a political campaign. Without giving too much away, I think they move some story lines along too quickly, skipping what could have been more character/plot development. Which is surprising, given that it was much shorter than it felt. Just add in the extra scenes so the time I invest equals the time it felt like.
Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Ryan Gosling all turn in fine performances. Evan Rachel Wood is also a good choice for the “innocent” intern, even though I think her character is one of the areas that could have used a little more developing. And while George Clooney does a good job as well, he always comes across as George Clooney.
All in all, it’s not a bad movie. It’s interesting. But it’s not something you need to rush to the theater to see. Wait for it to show up in the Redbox or On-Demand. (That’s like, what, a month or so after general release these day, right?)