stars George Clooney and Ryan Gosling; George Clooney directs.
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The Setup: George Clooney just took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his performance in The Descendants, so expect to see lots of coverage of him as the Oscars approach. This review, just to be clear, is not a shameless attempt to ride on his award-winning coattails. Mere coincidence. It's also not a shameless attempt to generate more political buzz during the prelims to the presidential race. Nope, that's also just a mere coincidence.
In The Ides of March, Clooney stars as Governor Mike Morris, a presidential candidate, and Ryan Gosling is one of his staffers. The rest of the A-list cast includes Paul Giamatti (a staffer from a rival camp), Philip Seymour Hoffman (on the Governor's team), Evan Rachel Wood (a tempting intern) and Marisa Tomei (an upstart reporter). It's politics as usual as there are dirty tricks and double crosses, all of which we see through Gosling's idealist eyes.
The Execution: Clooney, who also directs, turns in a charming performance, but it's Gosling who really holds the film, with its predictable storyline, together as he slowly realizes everything that glitters isn't gold. And when it comes to politics, even the gold is pretty tarnished.
The Extras: Except for commentary by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, the rest of the extras are pretty yawnable. There's a featurette on the origins of The Ides of March, another with the cast, and a primer on what a political consultant does.