Two men sit at a bar. With the exception of the two men and the barkeep, the bar is empty. Neither man can afford to have this conversation overheard.
“You’re working for the wrong man,” says the older of the two to the other. “I want you to work for us.”
Stephen Myers tells the older man he can’t, and leaves the bar. Myers, a political whiz kid, refuses Tom Duffy’s offer to switch sides in the democratic primary election. He is dedicated to serving as second-in-command on the presidential campaign of Governor Mike Morris.
The film, based on “Farragut North,” a play by Beau Willimon, follows Myers (Ryan Gosling) as he learns the dark side of the political world when he is thrown in the middle of under-the-table deals and potentially career-ending scandals.
He is forced to choose between remaining loyal to Morris (George Clooney) or to switch to the rival campaign, which, according to the most recent predictions, is favored to win the democratic primary and possibly the presidency. Duffy (Paul Giamatti), campaign manager for Morris’s rival, sees Myers as an essential asset to the Morris campaign and one that must be eliminated to guarantee a victory against Morris.
Controversy arises with this meeting, despite Myers’ decision to remain with Morris, and his loyalty is called into question. Myers also becomes romantically involved with intern Molly Stearns, daughter of the president of the Democratic National Convention. A late-night phone call to Molly, accidentally intercepted by Myers, adds a whole new level of scandal to the campaign.
With his career and love life jeopardized, Myers is forced to make difficult decisions and learn from the consequences that come from mistakes in the unforgiving, cut-throat world of politics.
Gosling proves he is more than just a pretty boy and blends well with seasoned actors Clooney and Giamatti. Rounding off a loaded cast are Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei, as Morris’s right-hand man, Paul Zara, and a reporter who gets friendly with Zara for the purpose of getting the inside scoop on the Morris campaign.
There is no weak link in the acting and, under the direction of Clooney, the film is overall well made, full of suspense and drama with a dash of romance.
The film’s plot is engaging, but not unexpected for those familiar with political dramas or political scandals.
Though the plot twists are slightly predictable, a stellar acting performance by the cast and the solid directing of Clooney create an intense story that provides a disturbing glimpse at the reality of the behind-the-scenes workings of modern politics that is enough to make most voters cringe.
Post Author: Randi Peterson. Randi is the managing editor of The Voice and is currently a junior. In addition to newspaper, she is also heavily involved in the softball, Huntley Hundred, and silver chord programs. She likes to keep busy with schoolwork, newspaper, and softball practice, but also enjoys spending time with her friends, sketching, and inventing in her free time.