George Clooney, 2011 (8.4*)
This is an intelligent political thriller with a few unpredictable twists. One would say the acclaim is due George Clooney, since he co-wrote the screenplay, directed the film with himself in a lead role.
His character is a new presidential candidate, whose idealistic follower Steven Myers, brilliantly underplayed by Ryan Gosling, is second-in-command of the campaign, which is headed by veteran campaigner Paul Giamatti. None of these men are saints, and over the course of the story we get to see each character in a more revealing light.
It’s hard to describe the film without giving away some important plot turns, but place this film on a short list of intelligent and adult political films, each revealing something about the process of government: Advise and Consent, All the President’s Men, The Queen, Executive Suite, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
This is one of the better films of 2011, for me in that "second tier", with Rango, The Artist, and Take Shelter.