This film from actor- director George Clooney is a brilliant story that shows the machinations behind the scenes on political campaigns. Behind every clean candidate who looks as if she or he is the person of integrity is a politician who must do what politicians do to get elected. Whether this is true or not, I do not know. I do know that in Britain as well as the USA there has been a growth of political operators whose business is to ensure their candidate is elected. As these are paid positions, the concept of working for people they believe in rather than delivering a service takes over.
I find it hard to accept that consultants sell their services in the political sphere rather than work on campaigns they believe in.
In this film from 2011, Clooney plays the candidate who seems true to his beliefs, a liberal with a conscience who will not play dirty just to win votes. Around him he has the brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the strategist and Ryan Gosling as his deputy. It is Ryan Gosling’s character that is central to the plot since he is the ambitious one. He believes in his candidate but cannot resist talking to the other side, a move that, once revealed, damages his career. His relationship with a young intern played by Evan Rachel Wood leads to his discovery of information that changes his view of his candidate.
What he should do with this information is the central question raised by the film. It is to the credit of the director that the ending is satisfying and, probably realistic.
George Clooney’s presidential candidate is another of a long line of fictional politicians who come across as more worthy and more interesting than the ones the American people really get in front of them at election time. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not; maybe, the fictional characters are enough to stop the people being completely fed up with the debased political landscape that actually exists.
‘The Ides of March’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?