‘Ides’ dramatizes business of politics

One wouldn’t think that George Clooney’s latest film “The Ides of March” contains a political and drama-filled storyline judging by its title name, but that’s exactly what the Oscar-winning actor cooks up in his latest release.

The term “Ides of March” has been thrown around a lot in history.

Its literal meaning is March 15 in Latin and the date in history when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. by a group of conspirators.

It is said that Caesar was stabbed 23 times.

Perhaps what has made this term even more famous was its usage in William Shakespeare’s play “Caesar.” In one scene of the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar of impending death by saying “beware the Ides of March.”

Clooney’s film explores the world of dirty politics, with the plot wrapped up in many themes dealing with deceit, treachery and lying.

It exemplifies the ever-too-familiar scheme that many politicians use: lying and back-stabbing to get ahead in their careers. This is perhaps symbolic of what happened with the Caesar event that many historians refer to as the “Ides of March.”

Fresh off his gripping performance as a getaway driver in “Drive,” Ryan Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers, a young, ambitious campaign manager who is at the helm of a heated presidential race.

He works as the junior campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Mike Morris (Clooney), governor of Pennsylvania. Morris also receives help from the senior campaign manager, Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is also a strong mentor for Meyers.

The story takes place in Ohio as Morris aims to win the pivotal state away from his competitor, Arkansas Sen. Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell).

Pullman’s campaign is managed by Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti).

Early in the story, Meyers receives a curve ball as he gets a phone call from Duffy.

Reluctant at first, knowing that talking to the enemy may turn disastrous, Meyers meets with him at a bar. Citing his ambitious personality and charisma toward the media, Duffy wants him to work for Pullman’s campaign.

Duffy explains that Pullman, a Republican, will win Ohio because of the major conservative support that the state has for Pullman.

However, Meyers remains optimistic that Morris is the ideal candidate that America needs and rejects Duffy’s offer.

Duffy responds by saying that Meyers will eventually turn out like other politicians who have ditched their values for corruption.

This meeting sets off a chain of unfortunate events for Meyers that the young campaign manager faces in the presidential campaign.

He eventually realizes that Duffy is right, and he begins to slowly transform into someone that he never used to stand for as he learns to survive in this dirty business.

Clooney not only starred in this political drama, but he also directed it.

He also wrote the screenplay for the film, which is based on the 2008 play “Farragut North” by Beau Willimon.

It’s his fifth production since his directorial debut in 2002 with “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”

In 2005, he directed “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which racked up many nominations.

Since then, though, he hasn’t come up with anything insightful or fresh.

His last film came in 2008 with the release of “Leatherheads,” a box office disaster.

“The Ides of March” makes up for that.

It may not get as many nominations as “Good Night, and Good Luck,” but it’s a solid piece of filmmaking with great central performances from its main cast, especially Gosling.

JACOB TARR

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