You may not learn anything new about how we elect our leaders in the newly-released DVD "Ides of March," but you do learn George Clooney can not only pull off the portrayal of the true politician, but he provides good direction in the riveting film.
The "Ides of March" takes place during the frantic last days before a heavily contested Ohio presidential primary, when an up-and-coming campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) finds himself involved in a political scandal that threatens to upend his candidate's shot at the presidency.
Gosling is looking for his candidate to succed, but also considers his only career advancement possiblities, even taking a meeting from the opposition that makes his own boss (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) question his loyalty to the campaign.
What Hoffman doesn't realize is that Gosling's loyalty goes a lot further than he or Governor Morris know . . . yet.
The movie is full of stars from Phillip Seymore Hoffman to Paul Giamatti, both campaign managers who will do whatever it takes to get their candidate the Democratic nod to run for president in the General Election.
Seymour and Giamatti are part of why the movie is a success. When they are on screen, they deliver the banter you've come to expect from them. They also show just how dirty politics can be when it comes to crunch time. With two candidates running neck-and-neck, its up to the campaign manager to get the advantage, even if it means making a deal with a dirty Senator (Jeffrey Wright), who is demanding a cabinet position before he'll endorse either candidate.
The candidate offering the best package for him wins the endorsement and the more than 300 delegates that comes with it.
Clooney directed and co-wrote "The Ides of March," which portrays how politicians lie, cheat and do whatever it takes to lead this great country in "the right direction."
Clooney leaves room for the other actors to shine throughout the film, but as respected Gov. Morris, has his own dirty secrets with a beautiful intern, (Molly Stearns).
Little does the governor know, his press secretary also has an interest in the 20-year-old intern, whose dad also happens be the president of the DNC.
The dialogue throughout the film is riveting, as you watch Gosling's character decide between what he believes, what is reality and what he must become to win.
"The Ides of March" is based on the play "Farragut North," by Beau Willimon, who also collaborated with Clooney and Grant Heslov on the script and worked on Howard Dean's 2004 primary campaign. The play's roots show: Many of the film's scenes are propelled almost solely by dialogue.
It's not a film that provides any kind of adrenaline rush, but it certainly provides a plot that leaves you wondering what direction Gosling will head, and how it will all turn out not only for the characters, but also at the ballot box.