Feature

The Ides of March

George Clooney tackles presidential politics—both as director and leading man—in this film about a presidential candidate in a tight primary battle.

Directed by George Clooney(R)

***

George Clooney’s latest directorial effort is “more comforting than inspiring,” said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Not unlike the political world it portrays, the film “deals mainly in platitudes and abstractions, with just enough detail to hold your interest and keep you hoping for something more.” Clooney stars as a presidential hopeful who’s aided in a tight primary battle by an idealistic young consultant played by Ryan Gosling. The film’s “powerhouse” cast is filled out by Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, and Marisa Tomei, all of whom have been given rein to “really tear into it,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. But while it’s “certainly involving” to watch Gosling spar with Hoffman and Giamatti, the “sheen of fine craft” can’t hide the hollowness of the story. Viewers hoping for “fresh, of-the-moment commentary on post-Obama political culture” will be disappointed to discover that Ides offers only warmed-over cynicism, said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. We already know that politics corrupts. “The last thing we need” is a movie that tells us nothing else.

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