This is the third Clooney-directed film I’ve seen, and I’ve noticed it’s a common issue. Where’s Jack Nicholson screaming, “you can’t handle the truth!” Where’s the fist fight? Where’s the heavy-hitting music to create suspense? When actors turn to directing, they leave behind these essential elements in favor of an understated approach (remember Robert De Niro’s ‘The Good Shepherd,’ for example?). I think they feel above it. I think they resent having spent so much time executing cheesy dialogue while running from a burning vehicle that they feel they can accomplish the same task without it. But like it or not — those things are often necessary to make a movie enjoyable. Otherwise, it’s as if I’m watching a documentary.
The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, the Junior Campaign Manager for Mike Morris (George Clooney), the Pennsylvania Governor who is trying to win the Democratic Primary to later run for President. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Paul Zara, his Senior Campaign Manager. The campaign can be cutthroat at times, and by the end of it, it really doesn’t matter what anyone’s political belief is as long as Morris wins. The plot is relatively expected, with the exception of an interesting twist in act three. Unfortunately, by the time act three hit I had already mentally checked out of the film.
OVERALL RATING: 3/5 DISHES