I don't often use this editorial space to promote movies. But "The Ides of March" was such a significant triumph, I felt compelled to spread the word to you political junkies.
The new film is a brilliant case of art imitating life — or is it the other way around? It's a story of political strategists who will do anything to get their presidential candidate elected. They are a rough bunch, just like they are in real life. They have no scruples. They have no honor. They have no code. They play to win.
You can easily imagine the behind-the-scenes machinations taking place in the lives of the 2012 candidates, too. Politics is a strange life for the people who make their living in it.
The movie's story is not the only reason to see this flick. The acting is stellar. Ryan Gosling is terrific. Paul Giamatti is perfectly sinister and manipulative. And best of all, we have the wily Philip Seymour Hoffman, who may well be the finest American actor working today. Hoffman keeps us riveted. He is the center of the movie and he takes us inside the life of apolitical operative.
As America girds for the 2012 campaign, which is sure to be a knock-down battle till the end, we want to understand the chaotic GOP side and the Obama camp, which must fight the disappointment circulating in the Democratic Party over President Obama's failure to fulfill so much of the promise of his 2008 campaign-stump speeches.
"The Ides of March" is the perfect movie to see before the primary season commences in earnest next year. It will make you smile in recognition of the real-life players' diabolical ways. Mostly, however, it will make you think — and that's a handsome accomplishment for a movie.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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