The Ides of March is the 15th of March, according to the Roman calendar. Its historical significance comes from it being the date Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate. Supposedly, a seer predicted the death of Caesar by this date. Shakespeare famously depicted this event in the play Julius Caesar.
The film The Ides of March is aptly named, for it depicts the death of idealism in American politics through the more metaphorical backstabbing that takes place. The story is adapted from a play by Beau Willimon. The film follows the descent of Stephen Meyers (Gosling), an idealist working on the presidential campaign of Mike Morris (George Clooney). The story begins with the preparations for the Ohio Democratic primary. From there, we see how he interacts with his various colleagues and opponents.
Initially, the film seems too sleek. Every character says just the right, charming thing. It’s almost disappointing how perfect everyone seems. But then the plot takes a few unexpected turns, which creates intriguing conflicts.
There are many parallels within the film that illustrate the hypocrisy of politics and people in general. The parallels range from the visual opening and closing of the film to what people say to one another. The dialogue is very well written and should be paid close attention to.
The achievements of this film lie with its superb writing and star-studded cast. The situations created within the film are all very real possibilities. The actors all deliver very strong performances. The film is completely character-driven, so this point is important. The cinematography is also well done; the shots are well chosen and thought out. The film is ultimately very effective at delivering its message.
The film represents politics very well. From the outside, politics and politicians appear too perfect. Politicians know just the right thing to say and have to look the part. But as we delve deeper into the story, we realize that not everything is, as it seems. Eventually it comes down to what one values the most. Are politics worth the sacrifices and compromises required to succeed?
The Ides of March (3)
Dir: George Clooney; US drama 2011, 101 mins;
Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti
Premiered March 15