The Ides of March

At the start of the year I accidentally took over a movie club. It’s a long story. This was the first movie I organized for the group and my first movie of the year. Good choice. Yay, me!

The Ides of March was brilliant. Riveting even. Admittedly I get a kick out of political intrigue, but even still… this was damn good.

Spoiler alert!

This film completely reinforced my opinion of politics of politicians, which is a tad cynical. Clooney, with his experience lobbying in Washington, obviously feels the same way. If someone is in politics, they will disappoint you. None of them are trustworthy. If they were they wouldn’t survive in that environment (note the bargaining that was needed to get Thomson on side and seal the primaries). The worst thing was that Clooney’s character, Morris, seemed perfect. A politician with ideals and dreams of making life better for ordinary people. Integrity. He was way too good to be true.

Idealism turned to pragmatism and the betrayal of ideals. Particularly in the fall of Stephen. He worshipped Morris, but Stephen did something silly, was disappointed by Morris and then betrayed by him, finally turning to the opposition, then blackmailing him to preserve his own career in politics.

His boss (Paul?) confused me. I didn’t like how much of a blabbermouth he was with the press, nor how he turned on Stephen, although I can understand the latter. Stephen did not want to betray Morris, but it sure didn’t look good that he met with Duffy, from the opposite camp, and then didn’t bother to tell Paul about it until it was too late. I can see why Stephen wouldn’t want to say anything to cover his own butt, but the fact is, by admitting it, he showed he wasn’t going to move camps or betray Morris’ campaign, so that made me not like Paul much because the decision to fire Stephen was a harsh one. We all make mistakes. Yet, Paul was right – you can’t keep someone with you who you can’t trust. Paul was more moral than the others in some ways but it was him that sold Molly to the bums who ended up leading her to her death, yet he had no idea. Ironic.

I loved Marissa Tomei who was excellent as Ada. So believable and likeable even in a slightly dodgy character. But then the cast were all really strong.

This all begs the question – what kind of crap system and crap society are we going to have with this kind of rot at the top?! Why does politics have to be so Machiavellian?! Is it that power corrupts, or does politics simply attract arseholes? Or are people just generally like this and I haven’t noticed?

And this movie makes the corruption seem even worse because it is being done by people who have such humanitarian ideas on so many things, ideas that are based in empathy for others. Despite these principles they still treat people so badly. I quite liked Stephen (Gosling’s character), but then he screwed the intern, told her she had fucked up when it was Morris (Clooney) who shut her in his room, organized for her abortion (but with what motives – to clear up a mess or to help her?) drove her to the clinic, but then didn’t make sure anybody stayed with her, didn’t pick her up and basically left her to die. So callous! Morris was the same – all smoochy with his wife, but a lying, cheating bastard. I mean, he was still calling Molly the intern at 2:30 in the morning! What was with that?!

Ah, it’s got to be a good film when it gets under your skin like this!

The only disappointing thing about the whole  experience was that we were in one of the seriously small cinemas at the Luna in Leederville. We got the last tickets and I ended up right up in the front row, which puts your nose about 2 metres away from the screen! If it had been an action movie or one with really ugly actors (superficial, who, me?) it would have been completely intolerable. Fortunately, the camera shots were fairly steady and slow and Ryan Gosling and George Clooney are both extremely easy on the eye, so it was no big deal, except that the same spot was directly under the aircon which was blowing up a storm. So I froze, got a kink in my neck and basically had my nose pressed against the screen for the whole movie…  but I still loved it.

I really liked this film. I’d give it 9/10.

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