George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman star in this tale of political intrigue and betrayal.
Clooney plays Governor Mike Morris who is running to become the Democratic Presidential candidate while Gosling and Seymour Hoffman play campaign aides Stephen Meyers and Paul Zara.
Morris is the underdog in the contest and, having promised to be America’s bright new hope, refuses to do the back room deals which will secure the nomination.
But as his aides struggle to change his mind, secrets between the three threaten to destroy the campaign for good.
In most films this would be the starting point for the good guys to defeat the bad but Ides does something which few Hollywood movies dare to do – it tells a story in which there are no good guys.
During the course of the film each of the three main protagonists get treated roughly but none are really victims, or if they are they’re at least deserving victims.
The closest the film has to a true victim is a campaign intern but even she’s fairly manipulative and could hardly be described as innocent.
In its staging and some of the dialogue the film has a feint whiff of The West Wing about it but that’s probably unavoidable given both play in the same world.
As well as starring in the film (albeit his character is absent from the screen for prolonged periods), Clooney also worked on the screenplay and directed the piece.
In the last of these roles he does a great job, the film has some beautifully staged scenes and he deftly captures the excitement and bustle of an election campaign.
The film ends abruptly and in a way which some have found unsatisfactory.
The Ides of March pays its audience the compliment of treating adults and in doing so gives itself the freedom to tell an intelligent, multi-layered story.
Without doubt, this is cinema’s best political drama in years amd one of the true must-see films of the year.
Our verdict: 5/5
The Ides of March received it’s UK premiere at the 55th BFI London Film Festival and is released across the UK on October 28th 2011.