The Ides of March

Rated 3.0

George Clooney directs himself and Ryan Gosling in this just OK political thriller about a presidential candidate and his rocky campaign. Clooney plays the maverick candidate, a governor who refuses to play games and seems quite ethical. Gosling plays one of his campaign managers, and he learns a few new things about his boss that make things, well, complicated. The movie benefits from strong performances by Clooney, Gosling and especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gosling’s boss and mentor. It’s also a mighty improvement over Clooney’s last directorial effort, the so-so Leatherheads. Still, it’s not the amazingly profound political thriller it wants to be. It’s more of a film about people behaving badly and paying the price for it, with political shenanigans in the background. Also stars Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Paul Giamatti.