Ides of March Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Ides of March
Reviewed by
Andrew Proverbs
on
Ides of March Blu-ray Review. The Ides of March is a tense and affecting story, given life by some great individual performances. Even if the ending feels a little cheap, it’s still a thought-provoking and scary experience.
Rating:
4.25

Feature 8.5
Video 9.0
Audio 8.5
Special Features 7.0
Total 8.5
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs
Classification
: M15+

8.5


Ides of March

I’ve been trying to describe ‘The Ides of March’ to my friends and family, and I always seem to fall short. The inevitable question, ‘what’s it about?’ Is usually answered with, ‘Well, it’s a movie about politics,” and that’s about the time their eyes begin to glaze over. But now I’ve worked out where I’m going wrong. If instead, I start with the sentence ‘It’s a thriller directed and acted by George Clooney,’ I tend to get a better reaction. 

The movie is full of politics, for sure. But the thing that pushes it into the more appealing ‘thriller’ category, in my books, is the sense of danger that has been infused into the storyline. For the most part it’s not physical danger, but something perhaps even more frightening: Psychological danger. What’s at stake is a person’s heart, mind and soul.  

Clooney plays Mike Morris, a state Governor who has put himself in the race to become President of the USA. On his campaign staff is Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) a talented young man who firmly believes that you don’t have to compromise your beliefs in order to succeed. But then Stephen makes two independent decisions, both of which will have dire consequences in the future. First, he begins a relationship with attractive intern Molly Stearns (Evan Rachel Wood). And second, he agrees to a clandestine meeting with the rival candidate’s campaign manager, Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), without telling his boss. As the repercussions for both choices hit him at once, Stephen is forced to make some tough decisions that could ruin everything: His life, his career, and the campaign. 

This is a movie that’s big on symbolism and imagery. When Clooney’s character speaks to the public, bright lights give his face its own radiant halo. In the next shot you’ll see Meyers and his boss Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman) behind the stage, black silhouettes against the American flag. These scenes might lack any kind of subtlety, but they do a good job at imprinting the idea in your mind of faceless figures, who operate behind the scenes to achieve their own shadowy ends. 

Another great scene puts Meyers behind the wheel of his car, just after he receives a crushing psychological blow. His face is stony and impassive, but the shadows of raindrops on the windscreen run down his face, in an obvious parody of grief. 

It’s clear that Clooney has a lot of tricks up his sleeve as a director, but the movie is really made by the performances of the actors. Gosling is solid as the lead, but it’s some of the peripheral characters who steal the show. Paul Giamatti is brilliant as Tom Duffy, playing the character with a convincing mix of anxiety and weary cynicism. George Clooney doesn’t give himself a lot of screen time, but he puts in a typically powerful performance when the camera is on him. 

For all the great moments in this film, the ending feels like a let-down. While it resolves the main conflict of the story; the battle for Stephen’s ideological soul, it doesn’t deliver a proper sense of closure.   

Special Features: 

  • Audio commentary 

  • ?On the campaign: The cast of Ides of March- An in-depth look at each of the main characters and the actors who play them.

  • Believe: George Clooney- This one is all about the superstar Actor/Director/Screenwriter himself, and how he handles the three (sometimes conflicting) roles. This one is a bit of a gush-fest, and doesn’t offer up anything interesting. 

  • ?Developing the Campaign: The origins of the story- Clooney and playwright Beau Willimon talk about how the movie grew from Willimon’s play, and the changes that were made for the big screen. 

  • ?What does a political consultant do?- In by far the most interesting special feature, real-life consultant Stuart Stevens talks about all the dirty tricks and gambits which are used in election campaigns.  

Audio/Video:

The film’s instrumental soundtrack only comes out during the more important scenes, and doesn’t add much to the overall mood. One of the tracks features whistles and percussion with a dark undertone, almost like a corruption of ’Yankee Doodle.’ Most of the conversations are very soft, meaning you’ll have your sound system turned up for the duration.  

Great use of lighting is used throughout the feature. There are many dark interior shots, where characters’ faces are submerged in shadow, making this a visually dramatic film.  

Closing comments: 

The Ides of March is a tense and affecting story, given life by some great individual performances. Even if the ending feels a little cheap, it’s still a thought-provoking and scary experience.






 
 



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