For this to work, you have to believe that a press secretary on a presidential campaign could be idealistic. But Ryan Gosling is pretty convincing as Stephen, the 2IC to campaign manager Paul (Philip Seymour Hoffman). They’re battling to get Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) the Democratic nomination.
It’s an expensive, corrupting and dirty business, not least because in the stupid US ‘primaries’ system, other parties’ supporters get a vote on which candidate your party fields. But things are going swimmingly until Stephen agrees to meet another candidate’s manager for a drink, and also succumbs to the charms of intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood, whose hotness compensates for the fact that she has a man’s name). Stephen has to decide how dirty he will play to get the job done.
It’s marred by a slightly unresolved plot strand, but this is a smart film with a great cast. 8/10
Release November 24, 2011.