Ryan Gosling brilliantly portrayed the nuances of his character - an Oscar worthy performance. All of the main characters did a phenomenal job - Gosling, George Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. The characters were layered, which is rare in movies these days. The dirty, corruptible side of politics - and the media - was excellently portrayed. Watching Ryan Gosling's character arc away from starry-eyed trust and naivete toward corruption and cynicism was heart-breaking but so believable. Clooney's arc was not as pronounced, perhaps because it was already there, as part of his character. Excellent film! Not for the shallow, however. It was deep.