There will be loathing
This movie would not have been made in 2008. The pre-Obama euphoria was still in full flight and Americans still believed in the possibility of changing politics in a country that still has filibusters and declares pizza a vegetable. There is however nothing more delicious than that sudden moment of reckoning when one becomes disillusioned with their icons. The resultant mixture of self loathing and depression often results in a creative alchemy that if channeled right can be both miserable and amazing.
The Ides of March comes as the result of such disillusionment. Directed by George Clooney, it’s easily his most cut throat satire of American politics. The film follows a Stephen Meyers, a young talented deputy campaign manager played by a resurgent Ryan Gosling. What Meyers has in talent he also has in gullibility. This is brought to a head when he finds out the Morris who is running for president is also sleeping with his an intern.
The ides of March is a film that showcases characters with goals that are at constant logger heads, especially when it comes to the relationship between Meyers and senior Campaign managers Paul Zara. Zara is played by a seemingly bloated Philip Seymour Hoffman who pulls of a well articulated Mid-western accent with apparent ease. One of the most outstanding scenes in the film comes when Zara preaches the ideal of loyalty in politics. This in way is a fable on how the Democratic Party has betrayed Americans and even betrayed itself.
This film although not particularly strong in terms of plot points, it has a centered character that holds. Never at any moment are you unconvinced by the narrative being acted out on screen. As Meyers faces being fired he in turns has to make a decision about whether he will stay and be part of the dirt of it all or leave what he describes as his life behind.
This is a question that most Americans will have to ask themselves sooner or later this year. Come Election Day voters will have to decide whether they still have faith in political system that is complicit. And if they leave what will they be moving towards.
The ides of March is a necessary look at the farce that is American democracy. The dealing that takes place behind closed doors and the buying power of individuals. Clooney both on and behind the camera does a masterful job of portraying the often unsettling reality of what it means to play in the Washington. He does not compromise in bringing out the dirty nuances of the Democratic Party. He even manages to take a shot at Clinton when Meyers says, “You can’t fuck the interns. They get you for that.”
This is not a glamorous picture it’s largel and unsettling and depressingly real.