Dirty tricks stand to soil an ambitious young press spokesman’s (Ryan Gosling) idealism in a cutthroat presidential campaign where “victory” is relative. The film, directed by George Clooney, is inspired by the real-life experiences of an aide who worked on Howard Dean’s failed 2004 run.
This movie stars Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle and Michael Mantell.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are two of my favorite actors. They are usually not leading men but their performances in any movie stands out. It was great to see them play off each other. Marisa Tomei did a great job as the reporter covering the primary. This is a well cast movie.
This film is a political drama and not political thriller. There are no car chases, guns fired or punches thrown. There is one death. Was the death accidental or intentional? It was a question that went through my mind as I watched. This is a thinking person’s movie.
Most people I know hate politics. Unfortunately politics is part of our everyday life. Most people think of politics as just holding public office. I see it when someone wants to be Grand Knight in a Knights of Columbus hall, a Grand Master in a Masonic Lodge and Condo President. It can get ugly.
Ryan Gosling does a good enough job as the leading man. His character is a player with integrity. He knows how to work people and at the same time does believe his man (George Clooney) is the man. He really believes his candidate will make the world a better place. He is idealistic and watching him change as the story develops was good drama. I have a friend who was involved in a political campaign some years back and got bummed out by the treachery and backstabbing. I have another friend that was in the Press so this story is very believable to me.
I’m giving this movie 3.2 stars. It was an elaborate chess game and it was entertaining seeing it play out. I like movies that make you think. I liked it for Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei. I also liked Gregory Itzin’s small part at the end. He was President Charles Logan from the popular show “24”. I would like to see the four of them again in a movie.
Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.
All the best,
The Film Movie Critic