When George Clooney brought his crew to the University of Michigan campus last fall to film his new political drama, I was one of those people that answered the casting call. My dreams of appearing in the background of a George Clooney film for two seconds were shot down when filming began and my talents hadn’t been summoned on the set. But it was filmed on my campus, nonetheless, so I figured I should support the film, despite my loathsome attitude towards political films.

I don’t like movies with a political agenda. I don’t want to pay money to see a fictionalized version of what I accidentally witness on Fox News or CNN while I’m channel surfing. I was put in my place when the reasons why I didn’t want to see this movie turned out to be the reasons why I really enjoyed this movie: There was no political agenda to it. It wasn’t trying to sell a certain party or highlight a specific flaw in our government and rally moviegoers behind some over-conversationalized cause.

“The Ides of March” is a behind-the-scenes look at a presidential campaign, focusing on a campaign press secretary played by Ryan Gosling. It portrays a political battle where the only ethical concern is loyalty – everything else is thrown out the window. Clooney’s role as the presidential hopeful is surprisingly restrained, yet effective, and Clooney gives the reigns to the talented Gosling, who carries the film with support from Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who turns every one of his roles into a subtly hypnotic exercise). With the release of this film, there should be no doubt about Clooney’s skills behind the camera. The film moves at a quick, smooth pace, slowing down at all the right moments to deliver some powerful drama.

The only lesson the films delivers is that politics are dirty. It’s a lesson that none of us really need to learn – it is the underlying theme behind nearly every political endeavor, and even when it cannot be seen, it can be assumed (now I’m starting to sound as cynical as this film). But Clooney’s aim is to show us that dirtiness slithering through the aisles of every political office, exposing it through realistic characters and testing moral battles. “The Ides of March” doesn’t really bring any new ideas to light, and it certainly isn’t a happy movie. But it’s got the entertainment factor down, and it’s refreshing to see a political movie that is so …non-political.


About the Author

Paul Kitti
Paul Kitti
Paul studies at the University of Michigan by day and explores Ann Arbor for the best music and entertainment by night. You can find him at the Blind Pig promoting his favorite bands or standing in line outside the State Theater on Saturday nights. If you have any insider info on upcoming films/bands, just motion for him to take his headphones off because he wants to hear about it.