Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prince Of Ides

I didn't realize that "The Ides Of March" was based on the play "Farragut North" until I was doing some reading about the movie earlier today and then I realized that Jake Gylenhaal was attached to the stage version of this material (John Gallagher Jr. ultimately played the part onstage) so I tried to do a visual test with Jake in the role of Stephen Myers, and lo and behold, I couldn't imagine the role being played by anyone other than Ryan Gosling. He is fantastic in this movie and he embodied the role so perfectly. I know most people think he should have been nominated for an Academy Award for "Drive" but I honestly think he was better here. He underwent a perfect transformation from an idealistic dreamer to a jaded man raped by politics. The last scene where director George Clooney gives him a blank closeup  was brilliant - it conveys the film's message in a single frame. What precedes it is a little bit of a mess, though. There are holes in the storyline, and the piece seems too small for a film, but Clooney is an actor's director (obviously being an actor himself) since this film is more about performances than the film itself. You see snaps of brilliance in the ensemble piece, each form a piece in a puzzle that doesn't really work as a whole. There's juice in Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei's performances, even if at times what they are doing do not make much sense. The brightest shine, of course, is Gosling, and if you haven't gotten him before, you will surely do after this.

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