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George Clooney’s “Ides of March” a must-see – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: George Clooney’s directorial effort, “The Ides of March,” finally opens in theaters Friday, Oct. 7. I’ve been beating the drum of support for this taut thriller ever since the Toronto International Film Festival. It shows Clooney’s flair for navigating a killer ensemble, embraces the storyteller’s distrust of unchecked political organizations, and spins an engrossing tale of power and corruption on the campaign trail.

This is from my earlier review, which was published from TIFF 2011:

It morphs Beau Willimon’s play “Farragut North” into a tense political drama blessed with the hand-wringing intrigue of a top-shelf John Grisham novel.

“Ides” does for behind-the-scenes political campaigning what “Good Night” did for broadcast journalism. It operates in a world most of us recognize but aren’t too familiar with, and it turns that environment on its ear. It’s appropriate that close friends Clooney and Brad Pitt have “Ides” and “Moneyball” in theaters at the same time, because the latter is as interested in the backdoor muckraking of presidential campaigns as the latter is in assembling a World Series contender. They’re more insightful for what powerbrokers do behind the curtain — the final scene in Clooney’s “Ides” hammers that point home — than what they do in the spotlight.

Clooney’s picture doesn’t crackle with the pitter-patter energies of a “West Wing” episode. The twists are telegraphed, but no less gut wrenching. And Clooney has the patience to trust his powerful cast to deliver when it matters. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti each get proper monologues, and Evan Rachel Wood holds the key to the film’s largest twist.

And here is a clip from MakingOf, which has some excellent behind-the-scenes footage on “Ides” over on their full YouTube page (accessible here):

“The Ides of March” isn’t a political film/ It reminds me more of a top-shelf Grisham novel, with a twisty plot carried by brilliant performers given just enough rope by a director who’s getting more comfortable behind the lens with each new film. It’s definitely worth your time this weekend, and I’m hoping enough people see it so that the film’s eventual Oscar campaign can get off on a powerful foot.

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