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An intricate thriller about the race to choose the Democrat US presidential candidate starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling.

For his fourth film as director, Clooney relishes the murky world of US politics and gives a convincing performance as one of the two contenders, liberal governor Mike Morris.

He doesn’t take centre stage, though.

Instead, the film revolves around Morris’ ambitious young press secretary, Stephen Meyers (an excellent Gosling), who loses his innocent idealism as he discovers the grubby wheeling and dealing and vicious backstabbing that’s needed to win the contest.

With Evan Rachel Wood’s flirty young intern, Marisa Tomei’s scoop-hungry reporter and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti’s rival campaign managers also jockeying for position, the twists and turns in the plot will continually catch the viewer by surprise.