The Ides of March (2011)

At the risk of sounding plaintive, “The Ides of March” is one of those perfectly-well assembled movies, with an all-star cast and a poignant subject matter that’s always relatively relevant (i.e. the petty rivalries between political operatives that end up influencing federal and state elections) but has a central, glaring flaw that’s only revealed by the time the credits roll: Namely, it’s one of those movies that’s written and directed by straight white men and largely starring the same that treats a white man’s disillusionment and growing cynicism as a bigger tragedy than, say, the actual woman who ends up dying because of his actions. It’s a microcosm into the philosophy of privilege, and it’s a bit scary to ascertain that there’s a heathy dollop of sociopathy embedded deeply into the fabric of political operations. The story itself is fairly rote and predictable, but it’s the fascinating (and unspoken) subtext that makes the film unexpectedly compelling in unintentional ways, almost in spite of itself. Watch for terrific supporting turns by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, who are both so good you wish the movie was about them.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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