Monday, March 05, 2012
Ides of March
For anyone who hasn't seen it or heard about it, I recommend Ides of March which is now on Netflix. It is a behind the scenes look at what happens in political campaigns from the perspective mainly of the people who are truly behind the scenes, the strategists. Is it disillusioning? Probably but only if you thought politics is an inspirational, noble method of working out what will happen in a country-- who the leaders and what the laws will be.
It's not as though politics are only about governments. They are in every aspect of life where a group of people decide how to spend money, what needs to be done, what they want for a business, what their product will be, and on it goes. I've seen it in schools, churches, and corporations. I don't think there is a way around politics other than staying away from other people, only concerning ourselves with what we do, and being willing to let someone else call the shots for the rules we must live by.
Even then politics will have determined the food we can buy, how much money we will need to spend for this or that, and whether the community in which we live will be changed totally right beyond our fence-line-- if they let us have a fence.
The workings of human nature; how we do things; at what point will we be corrupted; what we expect from others; what is nobility... Is there nobility? These are all things Ides of March explores.
Is it disillusioning? Maybe-- mostly though for someone who hasn't been paying much attention to humans in group interactions and most especially the political climate today. If someone can go into a group meeting and not notice the snipping, the aggrandizing, the pressure to win, maybe they won't think politics impacts them. It still will have.
I thought the film was excellent, fast moving, informative, thought provoking and had a perfect cast led by Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giametti, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (all four among my favorites), and although their parts were smaller, on the distaff side, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jennifer Ehle (one of those three doesn't exactly fit the definition for distaff).
This film was put together like a fine work of art as it was adapted, mostly I think by Clooney's vision, from a book by Beau Willimon-- Farragut North. Willimon had worked for the Howard Dean campaign although this is clearly not autobiographical. What it is is an inside look at human nature using the vehicle of a political campaign
I really liked it and would say it was one of the best films I have seen recently not just for the story, the acting, but the warning, and I don't just mean for politicians but all of us for our own motivations and moral values.
For anybody who thinks moral values mean a religion-- it doesn't. Moral values are those which we have within us for the rules by which we live, our own personal code of conduct. Are they bendable under the proper persuasion?