For once, a movie is not about George Clooney. Well at least, not his acting.
“The Ides of March” is about Clooney sitting behind the director’s chair and taking a very minimal role in the acting. Sure, he may play Gov. Mike Morris who is running for the Democratic nomination for President, but it’s not all about him. You actually forget it’s his race.
You look to Ryan Gosling’s character Stephen Meyers who is second in command, in running Morris’ campaign. It’s about this guy and how this guy’s life, everything from his code of ethics to his personal life, is and will be changed. It’s about getting this nomination for Morris in anyway that Meyers can. Meyers does not want to go back to a consulting firm, his “before” lifestyle.
“The Ides of March” is all about politics and how it changes everyone involved. Politics can affect anyone, not just the person running for the position. It can run from the media covering the campaign to the campaign manager, right down to an intern in the campaign.
It can make them cynical. It can make them irrational. It can change them from what they believed in. It could even kill you.
“The Ides of March” in historical times is the premonition of the downfall of Caesar. In the movie, it’s those involved in politics that will see a downfall whether in their judgement, their jobs or even their trust from those surrounding them just like Caesar felt from Brutus.
Clooney doesn’t need fancy explosions or expensive fight sequences to get this point across. You just need a great cast of actors including Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood and Marissa Tomei who can read and shall we say, act the lines that were written.
What Clooney’s previous directing attempts including “Leatherheads” and “Good Night and Good Luck” were missing was the acting of Ryan Gosling who took on the character that was Stephen Meyers. It was the blending of Gosling’s talents and Clooney’s direction with simple, but contrasting shots such as the cameras focusing on Gosling standing behind an American Flag when Morris is speaking or a close up that make the story work.
Clooney wasn’t aiming for a movie that would gain him a golden statue named Oscar. He already has one. He was aiming at what we didn’t have to look too far from our own present day politics to see… politics and the dirty, dirty game that it is and always will be.
- Writing (Adapted Screenplay)