George Clooney's political drama The Ides of March, screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, is attracting Oscar buzz for good reason: the acting is top-notch, the tension keeps you hooked and its subject matter couldn't be more timely.
George Clooney gets behind and in front of the camera for his fourth directorial feature, and it's a star-studded success. The Ides of March tracks the campaign of Democratic Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) who is in a tight race with an an opponent led by campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti). But Morris has his own aces working behind the scenes, chiefly campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his protégé Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling). Yes, The Ides of March does truly include that many A-list talent. Let's not forget the supporting female cast too; Marisa Tomei plays an ambitious New York Times reporter and Evan Rachel Wood as a naive intern.
Dirty politics is the name of this deceitful game, so it's a must-see film for politics junkies. There's a lot of Democrat-versus-Republican talk, made only more timely by what we're seeing now in the partisan politics infecting the U.S. The dialogue zips back and forth with ease, but we have to thank the acting prowess of Hoffman and Goslin for delivering their lines with such potency. Gosling is especially memorable as a hungry but wide-eyed campaign staffer doing anything he can to push his candidate into the White House. It doesn't go according to plan, which is where the tension begins to mount.
The mood of the film takes an exciting turn midway and that's where Ides of March really keeps you captivated. Some predictable plot twists might frustrate some viewers, though. You can practically see where the film is going but getting there is half the fun.
The other fun half is watching Gosling fall into a role made for him. His emotions bubble up into his disillusioned face in one scene, and his eyes soften in another more romantic scene. He's always been the master of letting his expressions say more than his spoken word, and in Ides Gosling doesn't disappoint on that front. Clooney's direction also helps us learn more about a character skating on ever-thinning ice.
Could Ides take Best Picture? Will Clooney get a Best Director nod? How about Gosling as Best Actor? All signs point to a resounding "yes!" because it would be hard for the Academy to ignore a potent political film featuring such intense performances and relatable material. Everyone might know politics is dirty, but Ides dives into the mud, giving us a solid picture of how ugly those fights can get.
The Ides of March will be release worldwide Oct. 7
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