Ides of March Gets Critics' Vote
Great acting overcomes shopworn themes in Clooney's political thriller
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2011 11:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – Critics are quite pleased with George Clooney's latest directorial offering, The Ides of March; the taut political drama currently enjoys an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes—although some of its supporters have qualms about its themes. Here's what they're saying:

  • “Are you sitting down? George Clooney has some shocking news: Politics is a dirty business,” writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. “The Ides of March works hard to seem down and dirty, but it’s naive at heart.” Still it “rolls slickly along,” managing to be “derivative but fun—a West Wing episode with more marbles rolling around the board.”
  • “The movie’s strength is in the acting,” writes Roger Ebert. “Clooney the director brings his actor’s experience to the job and attends closely to performance.” Gosling in particular has “an insistent presence.”

  • Not everyone's a fan: "Despite across-the-board bravura performances, The Ides of March somehow remains static and lifeless, like a civics-class diorama,” writes Dana Stevens of Slate. It’s concerned with “ultimately overfamiliar truths about human nature: Power corrupts. Good guys finish last. Ryan Gosling looks really good with his shirt off.”
  • But look closer “and you’ll realize that Clooney is hunting bigger game,” writes Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. “His consistently gripping movie is most scalding when it reveals the chaos that ensues when the loss of ideals is coupled with the loss of shame. How's that for timely?”