100 minutes| U.S.A.| 2011| Colour| Anamorphic| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm

George Clooney’s classy new directorial offering looks at the battle for personal integrity in the media-saturated bear-pit of the American political process. Ryan Gosling excels as a hotshot young campaign executive who is a true believer in his candidate, a charismatic eco-friendly Democrat governor (played with canny, too-slick charm by Clooney himself) who promises a bright future if he wins the presidential nomination. Gosling’s agile enough to survive in the cutthroat environment of spin and counter-spin –with Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman both in fine fettle as rival media wranglers – but one late-night phone call brings a shock revelation which puts his job and his political faith on the line.

The intrigue piles on from there, as Clooney lets his splendid cast take the strain, delivering a twisty yarn with enough authenticity to feel like we’re getting the inside scoop. Entertaining and committed, this has a welcome 1970s feel to it. Alan J. Pakula for the iPad generation, anyone? (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

George Clooney’s earlier film Good Night, and Good Luck is showing in our season, Stars Behind the Camera.

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