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The Ides of March (2011)
Disappointing doesn't cover it
The general buzz I've encountered regarding Ides has been one of anticipation. That has probably been enhanced by the fact that most of it was filmed in my hometown of Cincinnati. That, plus it has some decently heavy hitters, including George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti. Portrayed as a compelling drama in a political setting, I was indeed intrigued, so I didn't put up much of a fight when my buddy suggested that be the movie we see during our impromptu outing. To say I was disappointed would be a gross understatement.
The film opens with Ryan Gosling sitting in what appears to be a dark room, staring at the camera, with an expression of nonchalantness, fatigue, and an edge of confidence. Looking the audience in the eyes, he states "I am not a Christian. I am not an atheist. I am not a Muslim. I am not Jewish. My religion is the Constitution." While this may portray an idealistic political stance for some, as a film lover and Christian, this opening line created an immediate sense of anti-religious sentiment that I did not expect would vanish later in the film. I was right.
So here we meet our protagonist, the person we, as movie-goers, should identify with and root for. Gosling plays Stephen, the second in command for Mike Morris' (Clooney) bid for the Democrat presidential nomination. Surrounded by cynicism and realists, Stephen is a beacon of hope and optimism, proudly proclaiming that Morris is the one, the guy who is going to fix everyone's lives and make this country great again. Of course, we see just how strong that loyalty and faith is when he's fired from the campaign and threatens to bring those (enter explicative here) down, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
For the first hour or so of Ides, a shaky and altogether uninteresting drama unfolds through dull performances by the actors and a slow, scattered plot. The thin storyline is also overshadowed by a not-so-subtle tour of liberal theology. Obviously, since the setting is a Democrat campaign, platform issues are going to arise. I don't have a problem with that. I didn't realize it was focused on the Left going in, but I'm a big boy, I can handle it. This was over the top, though. I sat in my seat being slapped in the face with "good and perfect" platform of Clooney's character to end terrorism by removing oil from our lives, how the rich need to pay their fare share and support those who can't support themselves, how religion is a distraction (I told you that wasn't going away!), and how abortion is a woman's right to end an inconvenience. Ides also apparently feels the need to bash the Right while lifting the Left, describing how dirty, underhanded, and desperate they are to win a race at any cost. Needless to say, my face was as dead-panned as the actors'.
The film shifts focus after that first hour of liberal propaganda and shows how two-faced and immoral pretty much every character in the film was. Of course, that's my interpretation of events. The film portrays their behavior as being natural, yet self-serving, and showed how all your dreams can come true. All you have to do is lie, cheat, steal, get even, and basically stop at nothing to achieve them. Sure, in the end, Gosling is as jaded and cynical as everyone else, but he's successful. After all, isn't that what all successful people in America are? Seriously, folks, this movie is a waste of time. There isn't a single moral character to mention, they drop so many f-bombs that IMDb couldn't keep count (literally, the site says its somewhere between 50 and 75), the political bias is stifling, and the plot is completely uninteresting. It is impossible to become emotionally invested in anyone, because every character is despicable. I would like to take a moment to clarify, however. Please do not take my criticism as offense. Truth be told, Ides isn't strong enough to be considered offensive, its just bad. There are several decent and enjoyable movies out right now. My advice is to go see anything but The Ides of March!
For more of my reviews, visit HallOfFreedomProductions at BlogSpot!
The Widow's Might (2009)
Great Family Film
The Widow's Might is a delightful and engaging story that captures the attention of the viewer quickly and holds it throughout the film. Garnished with light-hearted humor, wit, and song, the film brings home a powerful and important message that it is the responsibility of all godly people to defend those that can't defend themselves. This film becomes even more impressive in light of the fact that it is the first feature-length film HeuMoore Productions has released. While there is room for growth in regards to dialog and situational humor, The Widow's Might is a warm-hearted and Christ-centered film that will delight the whole family. I look forward to future projects from this promising group!