The Ides of March starts Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  In a word, I think this movie is overrated.  Based on a play, the political thriller plays like a play instead of a movie.

In a movie, locations are often integral to the plot.  When they adapt a play into a movie, the locations often become a way to make the play look more like a movie.  For example, there’s a scene where Phillip Seymour Hoffman is getting his haircut.  In a normal movie, this might be important because the character is fastidious or vain, but in this case it’s just something to get him into a new location.  Also, the locations in the movie are a little vague at some points.

Maybe it’s unfair to compare this movie to other political thrillers, but this one just isn’t that thrilling.  For one thing, it’s all focused on Gosling’s character.  So during the movie, it’s possible that he’s being played, since there is a lot of intrigue.  Consequently, we don’t know what’s important or when he might be lied to.  Clooney’s character, who is running for president gets a call from an incriminating phone at the end, but the scene holds no weight because up to that point it’s completely possible he didn’t even know her.  The whole thing could be set up, but it’s not and that’s not very thrilling.


Ultimately, it’s about Gosling’s character going from naive supporter to savvy political operative.  But, quite frankly, the change is kind of abrupt and the revelations, not all that surprising.  That isn’t to say the actors aren’t any good, it’s a stellar cast.  Maybe it’s the direction, but I think it’s more likely that it would work better as a play.

I give The Ides of March 4 out of 10 keggers.  Maybe a rental, but I wouldn’t kill myself seeing it.  You’re better off seeing Drive.