Saturday, October 8, 2011


Donkeys and Elephants will likely use THE IDES OF MARCH as a political football; finding ways to point the finger at the players involved, trying to pinpoint one side or the other as the villain in the film. The parties would be mistaken to do so, for MARCH does not bother, or care which side is on the right or wrong. It spends all of its time exposing the behind-the-curtain goings-on of a Presidential campaign, in which there are no real winners or losers; all players involved are victims of the game they play.

Steve (Ryan Gosling) is a campaign co-manager for Governor Morris (George Clooney), who is running for President and is in a heated, deadlocked campaign in the Ohio Primaries. Steve really believes in his candidate, and works closely with campaign manager Paul (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), and plays cat-and-mouse tactics with reporter Ida (Marisa Tomei). After being offered a job from the opposing side from Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), Steve has an affair with young intern Mollie (Evan Rachel-Wood). He then falls into a scandal; one which will threaten his career and the campaign he has dedicated his life to.

MARCH wisely spends its time not focusing so much on the players, but the game that they play. It is loaded with political maneuvering; switching allegiances and ditching loyalty all for the sake of saving ass. It is a Shakespearean-like drama; Steve’s job security after the secret meeting with the opposing side is in peril, but he uses his affair with the intern to uncover a secret to save himself and perhaps his candidate. Steve is faced with many ethical, moral and legal dilemmas, and director George Clooney does fantastic work in maneuvering his characters around like chess pieces.

Clooney spends most of his time behind the camera; limiting his screen time to short, but very effective bites. Gosling proves his worth here; finding ways to display emotion and feeling without even speaking. Hoffman and Giamatti are spectacular as always.

The finale is a bit of a shocker, with certain players selling their soul to the devil not only for the sake of saving themselves, but for the job that they believe in. MARCH will likely find its way into film-appreciation classes over the coming years; not for the sake of political debate, but for the moral and ethical decisions that we all struggle with. That makes it timeless.


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