Et Tu Stephen?

This is my review of The Ides of March [DVD].

What do you do if your idol seems to have feet of clay? How do you take revenge and at what price when others try to destroy your prospects to protect their own?

Ambitious yet idealistic young press manager Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is convinced that he has found a man he can trust and admire in the form of Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), a charismatic, liberal Democrat candidate running for the US Presidency.

For all his confidence and self-assurance, Stephen has a lot to learn about the ruthless tactics of those who have been in the game longer. Matters begin to go awry when the main Democrat rival's strategist, Duffy, makes a bid for Stephen's talents. Morris's campaign manager, Zara, sets a surprisingly high store by loyalty and a pushy journalist, Ida Horowicz, adds to Stephen's problems. There are tense encounters with sharp dialogue delivered by some great actors, not least Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti in the roles of Zara and Duffy. A further twist is provided by Stephen's unwise affair with a beautiful young intern.

The storyline is slow-paced at first, with a good deal of mumbled jargon likely to make a non-American viewer long for subtitles, although one can get the gist. The plot speeds up and becomes gripping, then ends abruptly, leaving you first surprised, then caught up in considering the issues raised before the inevitable "but what about?" questions surface as you begin to see flaws in the plot.

Overall, this is an absorbing political drama about issues of loyalty, how the desire for power corrupts, to what extent the ends justify the means. The modern fable raises some complex moral issues and leaves you to decide what is likely to happen next and why.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars

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