After the first review of George Clooney’s political drama “Ides of March” violated a review embargo, and was quickly pulled after the film’s UK distributor requested that it be taken down, the first more official reviews are now coming in after the film’s premiere in Venice today.
The Guardian’s Xan Brooks writes, “This handsome, solid campaign thriller paints its primary colours in darkening shades of grey,” and The Evening Standard’s Derek Malcolm‘s four star review says, “this intelligently written tale of political chicanery … vies with Clooney’s ‘Good Night, And Good Luck’ as the kind of relevant film Hollywood should make but seldom does,” while The Playlist’s headline “‘The Ides Of March’ Is A Gripping Return To Form For Director George Clooney” is a bit more flattering than the review itself. The writer says the film’s Oscar frontrunner status may be in doubt.
The positive buzz stands in fairly stark contrast to British critic Tom Shone’s early highly critical review, who has yet to re-post it.
In his piece, Shone wrote: “Whether you buy the rest of the movie will depend largely on whether you believe: a) the American public would elect an atheist to the white house; b) Cincinnati residents will ever forgive Clooney for portraying their city as a greying, washed-out dump and c) audiences want to see inspirational political candidates exposed as lying, immoral scumbags. This may get some takers, certainly more than in 2008 when the film was first penned, but the cynicism felt a little rote to me — and more importantly, it seems to give Clooney no joy.”
“From its bleeugh cinematography to its central message — hope sucks, or blows, depending on your sexual peccadillo — this is one seriously depressed movie. I didn’t know whether I should watch it or give it some telephone numbers to call.”
But commenters were skeptical of Shone’s take. One person, who also saw the film, wrote, “I’m not sure this reviewer saw the same movie. The movie was completely engrossing & kept my interest from start to finish. It wasn’t depressing, it was intriguing.”