THE IDES OF MARCH Monday 31 October, 2011

March ado about nothing?

This film will have you believe that it is a taut thriller that will have you gripping the edge of your seat.  In truth I was a little worried that it would descend into such sort of Patriot Games style buffoonery.

There is a tendency in modern political thrillers for it all to dissolve into mass explosions and gun shot chases through metropolitan transportation networks. Which is generally quite disappointing when the first hour of the film is devoted to problems of a more cerebral nature. It’s never seemed to be a good fit to solve those ethical and intellectual quandaries by shooting the shit out of each other and your surroundings. I went into this film with fingers crossed that I would not get the same moronic answers here.

The fact that George Clooney directed this film made me less worried than I would have been though.  He is proving himself to be a smart and considered director of smart and considered films. Amazingly I got what I hoped for.  This film does not dissolve into idiotic ‘Bayhem’. As the maxim says though “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”. I’m not entirely sure that this film deals, satisfactorily with all of the elements it has put into play.

I think it could probably have used some extra time.  It feels like just as it gets going and gets to the meat of the matter that it’s over. The lessons that we learn from this film are lessons that we’ve been taught hundreds of times before “you might very well think that but I couldn’t possibly comment”. Power corrupts. Politics is a dirty game.

It’s not all bad though and this is a minor gripe that is largely brought about by how successful the rest of the film is. This film is peppered with some excellent performances.

As we’ve already noted, here at Geek & Spell HQ, Ryan Gosling is genuinely excellent.  His performance here is no exception either. Here he applies his ultra-cool minimalist acting to the role of a political campaign adviser for George Clooney’s Democrat candidate.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual set-chomping himself. Nobody swears quite like him. It’s fantastic stuff. I wish I could witness a swear off between his character here and Peter Capaldi’s Malcom Tucker. That would be quite something. Forget about CERN just get those two in a room and tell them that it’s ok for C-Bombs and we’ll soon be riding our own personal higgs-bosons through time.

Clooney, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei all put in decent performances as well. Although Tomei’s part is somewhat small and insiginificant (shock horror! A woman in a movie with very little to do!!…Come on George, you’re meant to be a good guy!).

Ultimately this film is slick and reasonably enjoyable. It’s appeal is somewhat reduced by the abrupt ending which sees it fizzle off of the screen rather than sending us home with a bang. March ado about nothing? I’ll let you dec-ide.



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