The Ides of March is an absorbing story of political intrigue on the campaign trail for President of the United States, until it ends abruptly, an incomplete tale. Its is as though a potter had crafted a beautiful mould and presented it to you without first casting and firing it.
Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) is a liberal Democrat with all the perfect Left-wing credentials, including an inability to keep his fly zipped. Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) is a junior campaign manager on his team. The two men, separately and unknown to each other, sleep with a 20-year-old intern, slimmer than Monica Lewinsky but with the same unique destructive proposition.
The Ides of March is terrific in identifying and locating the exact gene of electoral politics. Relationships here are purely and perfectly transactional. In an extraordinary scene, the cellphone of the intern, Molly (Evan Rachael Wood), rings in the middle of the night, and Stephen, her lover, picks it up. It is the Governor. The instinct you expect would be anger or jealousy.
Not in politics. Stephen instinctively moves to protect his candidate from the disastrous fallout of a leak. The intern is left, literally, stranded in bed. The film ignites once the screenplay unleashes two more stories silmutaneously—a calculated deal being worked out behind the scenes to get an endorsement for the Governor, virtually sealing his nomination, and a concurrent plot to oust Stephen from the campaign team.
And then, once the viewer is captivated by intrigue, the film suddenly ends. The ‘Ides of March’ in 44 BC, when Julius Caesar was murdered, is just Act 3 Scene 1 in Shakespeare’s play. Since co-writer and director George Clooney references the play so interestingly, it is surprising and disappointing that he ends his parable right in the middle of the plot. So what happened to the conspirators?