The Ides of March

June 9, 2012 - George Clooney directed, co-wrote, co-produced and co-stars in this timely political tale from 2011 based on a stage play titled "Farragut North." Ryan Gosling gets top billing. The notable cast also includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei.

Clooney plays Gov. Mike Morris (D-Pennsylvania), an idealistic politician and a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hoffman is Paul, the campaign manager, and Goslin is Stephen, Paul's top aide. They're all in Ohio for that state's primary on March 15. Also in Ohio is Morris' rival, a senator from Arkansas. His campaign manager is Duffy (Giamatti), and both camps want the endorsement (and the delegates) of the third guy in the race, a senator from North Carolina.

Things seem to be going pretty well for Stephen and the Morris campaign until, just a few days before the primary, Stephen gets a secret phone call from Duffy. The two meet and Duffy tries to get Stephen to join the Pullman campaign. Complicating matters even more is Stephen's relationship with Molly (Wood), a campaign intern who carries a secret that could bring down Morris' campaign.

Overall review: *** A tense drama with contemporary parallels and which offers a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes in a political campaign. The cast is great, the score is good and the moral of the story is that politics is really a game where it's every man for himself.