Opening in Theaters Oct. 7

Saeed Adyani/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Capsule reviews of films opening in wide release Friday, Oct. 7.

The Ides of March
Directed by George Clooney (Columbia Pictures)

Clooney's second feature as a director finds him again courting left-leaning audiences by taking viewers backstage in a presidential primary. The script, which Clooney wrote with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon based on the latter's play, absorbs the sights and sounds of American politics before plunging into the more familiar territory of a Hollywood thriller. It's a world that Brutus, Julius Caesar and Cassius would find all too recognizable, as the title might indicate. After seeing the film at the Venice Film Festival, critic Deborah Young admired Ryan Gosling's performance as a ruthlessly idealistic press secretary but thought that the film's "softer narrative, dingy Midwestern setting [and] structural lack of heroics are likely to keep the popular vote down."

Blackthorn
Directed by Mateo Gil (Magnolia)

This Western, directed by Spanish screenwriter/director Gil (Open Your Eyes, The Sea Inside), imagines that Butch Cassidy was not killed in a shootout with the Bolivian army in 1908 but rather went on to live quietly as a rancher for 20 years under the name of Blackthorn before deciding to go home. Sam Shepard delivers an understated, world-weary turn as the title character. At the Tribeca Film Festival this spring, Frank Scheck wrote that Gil was "less interested in narrative, or even action, than in displaying gorgeous vistas of the vast Bolivian countryside and showcasing Shepard's grizzled, laconic presence."

Texas Killing Fields
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann (Anchor Bay Films)

The second feature from Mann and the latest outing for Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain takes the form of a police procedural set in southern Texas. Neil Young, writing from Venice, found the film "treads territory long since made familiar by CSI and its many variants."

The Way
Directed by Emilio Estevez (Producers Distribution)

Estevez's film sends four Catholic pilgrims down the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual journey of hundreds of miles undertaken annually by trekkers in northeastern Spain. The focus is on one bitter man (the director's father, Martin Sheen) as he comes to terms with his son's death on this very trail a few weeks earlier. Kirk Honeycutt said Estevez's work "is an earnest film, its heart always in the right place, but it's severely under-dramatized."

ALSO OPENING

Real Steel (Disney), directed by Shawn Levy and starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly

Dirty Girl (The Weinstein Co.), directed by Abe Sylvia and starring Juno Temple, Jeremy Dozier and Milla Jovovich

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