Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) - 3 Stars

This is the type of movie you almost need to see twice to pick up all the subtle messages that piece together. Even with subtitles on, there's so much to absorb it's hard to stay with the plot which does finally take shape. The biggest problem though, it takes so long to take shape and the direction is all over the place. Along the way you're at least entertained as you discover another great actor taking center stage. Seriously, for such a nutty plot, I wonder how this movie managed to get such a great list of performers. For me, it's the cast that makes it fun and bearable. I love the part when they hit the rock after cloud bursting. No it's not a laugh out loud movie but if you can stay with it, it's fun and definitely unusual.

Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), is trying to discover what he really wants to be in life after his wife dumps him for another man. He's a reporter and desperately wants to get into IRAQ and write a piece that will launch him to fame, proving his worth to the world. Lately his assignments have been interviewing seemingly quaky psychics he considers insane as they tell their stories. Determined to get to the next level in journalism he sets out for IRAQ only to be held up in cheap motels and lying to others about his first hand accounts on the front line. By chance he meets a man named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a name he remembers from his last physic interview. That interview mentioned Lyn Cassady as the ultimate physic and here he sits in right in front of Bob.

Seemingly more than a coincidence, Bob immediately tries to make contact with Lyn. After he explains how he knows of his name Lyn tells Bob of an experimental U.S. military unit; the New Earth Army. He comes up with preposterous stories of the Jedi force, a legion of "Warrior Monks," who have the ability to kill a goat just by staring at it. Their psychic powers can pass through walls and read the enemy's thoughts. at it. The small legion of men are led by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), who's practice involve winning the war in a nonviolent approach. Bob becomes fascinated by all the secretiveness of the movement and begs Lyn to allow him to tag along into Iraq on his latest mission. It is there he will also meet another top player of the movement Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), whose jealousy of Lyn's abilities will actually cause the group to end.

Smoke House, BBC Films, Overture Films
Director: Grant Heslov
Writer: Peter Straughan
Producers: Paul Lister, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
I viewed 4/10

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