After a quick post-production turnaround, George Clooney’s The Ides of March debuted at the Venice Film Festival last week (to a mixed critical response) before being unveiled Thursday at a packed press and industry screening (a few people were even sitting in the aisles) here on Thursday. (It opens nationwide Oct. 7.)
My first reaction? Ides is no Good Night, and Good Luck. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its pleasures — it’s a taut, well-acted political thriller of Alan J. Pakula vintage (specifically All the President’s Men in terms of style and tone). There are also a number of crisp, well-written scenes that are likely to yield a boner from David Mamet.
But Ides’ story — adapted by Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov from Willimon's stage-play Farragut North — of a political consultant (Ryan Gosling) dealing with internal campaign strife that threatens to undermine his candidate’s chances of winning the Ohio Democratic primary for president isn’t as compelling or unique as it needs to be to transcend the genre.
Of course, there is plenty else to keep Cincinnati area residents preoccupied. Among the local entities mentioned or that make an appearance: Xavier University, The Millennium Hotel, Miami University, the Suspension Bridge, the University of Cincinnati, Memorial Hall, a Cincinnati Bell street phone, multiple television stations, Paul Brown Stadium, Head First Sports Bar, a woman’s clinic in Oakley, numerous shots of the Cincinnati skyline and more.
The downside? CityBeat doesn’t make an appearance in the film despite permission requests by the production. Bastards. (Just kidding, George.)