Directed by George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti
This four-time Golden Globe nominated film was written and directed by George Clooney. He also stars in the movie along with Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti. The movie also features Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jeffrey Wright. Wright previously worked with Clooney on Syriana. In addition to this movie, Marisa Tomei and Ryan Gosling paired up for Crazy Stupid Love. Clooney co-wrote the story for this movie with Beau Willimon and two-time Oscar nominee Grant Heslov. Heslov was nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck in 2006.
Stephen Meyers (Gosling) is a man committed to his politics and to Governor Mike Morris (Clooney). As a campaign staffer Meyers is willing to do anything to help Morris win the nomination for President from the Democratic Party. When the competition tries to recruit him he rejects the offer despite a warning from Tom Duffy (Giamatti) who’s leading the opposition’s campaign. Soon Stephen finds himself in the middle of a scandal that could ruin the Morris campaign. His loyalties are tested when Morris’ campaign manager (Hoffman) begins to doubt him. As the stakes grow higher, Stephen is forced to choose which path to take. The choice could make or break his career and change the course of the election.
This is an interesting political thriller with a great story. The politics of the film take a back seat to the drama of the people involved. This makes for a film that doesn’t seem to push any political agendas. As the story unfolds it takes an interesting approach to the side of politics most people don’t see.
The acting in the movie is pretty good. Clooney does a great job playing the career politician, while Gosling is convincing as the idealistic staffer. 2011 was a big year for Gosling, who earned critical praise for his role in Drive. Perhaps the two best performances of the movie come from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti who both seem to fit right in with the dark side of the political arena. The rest of the cast manages to do a great job as well, making the movie really enjoyable.
The score for this film is amazing. Alexandre Desplat is a four-time Oscar nominee with great skill when it comes to intense dramas. He’s also worked scores for great films including The King’s Speech, The Queen, and The Tree of Life. The music moves with the action and adds to the sense of drama throughout.
Any criticism with this movie might be the political side of story which seem to be painted broad strokes. It’s tough to make a film like this without choosing sides so that might have contributed to the broad strokes the writers used. This isn’t a huge problem thanks to the great acting and the interesting plot away from the election.
I would definitely recommend this movie for anyone who likes a good drama or political thriller. The movie is likely to get less notice thanks to Clooney’s other success of 2011, The Descendants. Still, I would encourage anyone to check this movie out. I give the film 4.1 out of 5 stars.