George Clooney's 'The Ides Of March': Early Reviews

6:25 PM PST 08/31/2011 by THR staff
Columbia Pictures

The actor-director premiered his new political thriller to kick start the Venice Film Festival.

George Clooney premiered his new political thriller 'The Ides of March'  on the Venice Film Festival's opening night Aug. 31, and the reviews (some gushing, some more reserved) are out. 

The film, which stars Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood, centers on the inside working of a presidential campaign. 

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The Hollywood Reporter critic Deborah Young sums up the film, writing, "Poised between politics and thriller, this morality take from Clooney & Co. is illuminated by a terrific ensemble cast."

"If you ask me, we now have the first sure-thing Best Picture nominee on our hands," gushes Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger. Describing the movie as "smart, but not overly complicated; cynical, but not completely depressing; and timely, but not forced." 

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"George Clooney for President!" exclaims the headline in Time magazine's review. "With Clooney's connivance, and in a film stuffed with savvy work by veteran players, Gosling pulls the movie away from Morris and into Stephen's mind, where angels swim and demons lurk. The Ides of March says that American politics, no less than Italian, is a beachfront property with sharks surfing the waves. That makes this skeptical, savory movie a fitting offering from Hollywood's suavest Ambassador to Venice and the world."

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Time Out London, who gave the film three out of five stars, says, 'This is Clooney’s ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, but played out on the down-and-dirty level of campaign politics and with enough everyday nefarious goings-on for its story not to resort to brainwashing or assassination. ‘The Ides of March’ is solid enough as a minor moral tale about politics – but its teeth are not as sharp as its ponderous title." 

London's Telegraph reviewer calls the film "A smart, confident kick start to what looks like being a notably strong Venice film festival," adding, "A political thriller exploring themes of loyalty, ambition and the gap between public ideals and private fallibility, it engages the brain within the context of a solid entertainment."

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