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Monday, November 16, 2009

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS (2009) - Grant Heslov

Based on the book by Jon Ronson, The Men Who Stare At Goats tells the true story of the US Army’s attempt to create a battalion of paranormal spies who use remote viewing to complete missions for the army. When Journalist Bob Wilton meets Lyn Cassady, he seems to have stumbled upon the story of a lifetime. Cassady was the golden child of The First Earth Battalion, an experimental battalion set up by Bill Django, a Vietnam Vet. But when a fork-bender named Larry Hooper is drafted into the battalion, he destroys it from within. Is Cassady telling the truth, or will Wilton find out he’s following a madman?

Military affairs make for savage satire. You only have to look at Dr. Strangelove to see that. The Men Who Stare At Goats seemed like the kind of film that would fully exploit this fact. And in some respects, it is a pretty good satire. But it’s a little too tame to be all that memorable. It has a great premise, and some really funny moments. The cast, which includes two actors who delivered brilliant comic performances under the Coen Brothers are all pretty solid. George Clooney (who also produces), Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey all deliver performances we’ve come to expect from these actors. And even Ewan McGreggor (apart from another dodgy American accent) is better than usual. But I expected something more. It’s entertaining, but ultimately forgettable.


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