The Men Who Stare at Goats

2010-04-30 11:28
The Men Who Stare at Goats

What it's about:

Reporter Bob Wilton is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn Cassady, a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of "Warrior Monks" with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it. Now, the programme’s founder, Bill Django, has gone missing and Cassady’s mission is to find him. Intrigued by his new acquaintance’s far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to accompany him on the search.

What we thought:

A lot of people adore George Clooney. His pre-historic charm and perpetual bachelor status seem to drive women wild.  You could still be the one! Just wait! But you’re so wrong. It’s inadvisable to trust a man who combs his hair that much, or to admire an actor who plays the same role in every movie.

But he’s fantastic in this charming, shambolic satirical comedy about a psychic military taskforce that originated under the incapable leadership of military guy-turned hippy Bill Django (Jeff Bridges).

The incredible story is all told through the disbelieving eyes of journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) whose last hope of a meaningful life rests on finding a big war story to impress his girlfriend and save his career.

Clooney is mussed-up and madly funny as good-guy-on-a-comeback Lyn Cassady, a role that could have been played by a younger, sexier John Cleese. Ewan McGregor is perfectly typecast as the romantic loser. Kevin Spacey shines with the psychopathic evil of the powerful guy that everyone hates, who inexplicably survives, and everyone dreams of destroying (if you work in any office, you already have a name, I’m sure).

There’s nothing obviously sophisticated about The Men Who Stare at Goats. FFS, it’s not called "The Hurt Locker", it’s called "The Men Who Stare at Goats", but beneath its silly exterior is an intelligence, self awareness and edge that, it seems, most critics and audiences seem to have missed. Let’s just say this movie could never star Jack Black, and that the Coen Brothers might have thrown it together as a vacation from Levi-Strauss.

Is it a believable story? No. And if I believed it, I wouldn’t admit I did, in case you had me locked up. But I will say that it’s what every good comedy should be: very, very funny.

No goats, no glory.

Jacob 2010/05/06 10:21 AM
I wasn't that impressed, Jeff Bridges recycles his 'Dude' performance from The Big Lebowski and Clooney's done the charming idiot routine better in his Coen Bros films.
John 2010/05/06 11:39 AM
And of course this marvelous critic did indeed see beneath the sillines. Oh my, how honoured we are to have read this piece of garbage review..... your majesty....
Kevin 2010/05/06 2:35 PM
@ John. Now Jacob I can take seriously as he has a valid opinion. You. Not so much. All that comes to mind when I read your comment is someone who sleeps with goats...your majesty!
Gary 2010/05/07 12:39 PM
@Kevin. John had a valid opinion, you not so much. Get the sleeping with goats out of your "head"
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