George Clooney directs, co-writes and co-stars in this cynical political drama. Clooney is a progressive governor trying to nail down the Democratic nomination for president. The focus, however, is on his idealistic young political adviser played by Ryan Gosling. The film starts out as a realistic, low-key look at the behind-the-scenes machinations of a political campaign. Slowly, the tension ratchets up, forcing Gosling's character to deal with some increasingly uncomfortably scandals. This isn't really a political thriller. There's no vast government conspiracy to deal with. But the savvy, sophisticated drama vividly reminds us how our electoral system curdles even the most idealistic of attitudes. 101 minutes R.