Monday, April 9, 2012

Ides of March - Movie Review

George Clooney directed this political thriller in which he acted along with a powerhouse starcast - Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and others. Mike Morris (Clooney) is the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Presidential candidate for the Democrats, competing against the Arkansas senator. The movie picks up in Ohio where the two sides are camping with their respective campaign teams. Mike's campaign manager is the loyal and long lasting veteran Paul Zara (Hoffman) who is assisted by one of the best media managers in the business, the young and debonair Stephen Myers (Gosling). Both sides are trying to enlist the support of the North Carolina Democratic Senator who controls 356 delegates making it no contest for the one whom he decides to support. The issue is that Franklyn is a hard bargainer and wants Secretary of State position in return.

The movie starts off innocuously enough. There is a bit of sexual tension in the air when the handsome Meyers flirts with an intern on the campaign, Molly, and dates her. There is also a hard nosed journalist Ida from the Times (Marisa Tomei) who is ferreting out all information about what is happening in the background. The movie lurches on to some action when the rival senator's campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) calls Meyers and asks for a meeting. Knowing that it would be suicidal to meet the rival campaign manager, Meyers chooses to go and meet him without informing his boss Paul (Hoffman). Duffy makes an offer to Meyers to join him. Meyers rejects it and forgets about it. Meanwhile while in bed with the intern he realises that the good Governor is calling her on her mobile at 230 in the morning. Upon questioning her, the jealous Meyers finds out that she had an affair with the Governor and needs money to abort the child from that one-off liason. Meyers gives her the money the next day, knowing that this info could end the Governor's campaign, drives her to the clinic and tells her to go home after that.

Things move fast after that. Meyers tells Paul that he met Duffy. Within no time Ida the news reporter calls him and tells him that she knows he met Duffy and she will print the news. Meyers suspects Duffy but Duffy says he is clean. Paul calls Meyers and tells him that he leaked the information because he wanted to sack Meyers for being disloyal. He also has the governor's approval. An enraged Meyers goes for the promised job with Duffy but Duffy rejects him. Meanwhile the intern comes back to the campaign hotel where she is told that Meyers has been sacked and that he has promised to take down everyone with him. Fearing that he'd reveal all, she kills herself. Meyers goes to meet her and finds her dead. He rethinks his options and gets around to work things his way using rather unethical means to do so and twisting the good Governor's hands a bit. All's well and that ends well for the two guys who had sex with the intern. Mr. Loyal is sacked and Ms. Intern is dead.

Moral of the story - In politics leave the interns alone. Also its better to have a lot of dumb asses than smart thinking and good looking assistants, men and women, who can cause more trouble than do good. I found the way the Governor capitulates to the blackmail rather too easy. Why he would set himself up for a lifetime of blackmail like that is anyone's guess. And as for the title - I failed to see the connection - someone please enlighten me there. Everyone seems happy and there's no big betrayal of Caesar. As a movie, its entertaining but when you think back on the plot, there seem too many holes which are not to my taste. I'd have liked some resolution in a better sense than to leave all the aggressors and the vile men winning in the end and all others losing out. What's the message George Clooney? But on the positive, Clooney does make movies that have political overtones and do make you think a bit. Even this does, though the sleazy underside is too real to enjoy. Would I save this movie and watch it again later? No. Would I recommend a one time watch? Yes.

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