The Men Who Stare at Goats: Review!

29 Dec

All-Star line up of: George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, and Kevin Spacey

This is obviously more of a retrospective review since the film came out in 2009 and I watched it on instant view over Netflix.  However, it’s worth a review because it has somehow stayed with me even if it wasn’t particularly very good.

What first drew me into the film was the big names for the movie.  Four prominent male actors all blended together for the audience’s enjoyment.  However, even the phenomenal line up could not save this film.

The film follows news reporter Bob Wilton (McGregor) as he uncovers a phenomenal story of secret government programs to create superhumans with psychic capabilities while in the Middle East.  His primary source of information over the events is Lyn Skip Cassady (Clooney) who nonchalantly tells Wilton all about the program that was headed by Bill Django (Bridges).  Eventually, all of the men meet on a military compound and hijinks ensue.

I suppose it first comes down to that it seems like all of the actors are having a lot of fun in their roles which is usually pretty good except, for some reason, it just does not convey over to the audience.  They may be having fun, but the viewer is not.

In fact, one of the funniest things about the film is the metatextual nature of the men referring to their superhuman psychic abilities as being “jedi”.  Wilton does not understand what it means to be a jedi yet Ewan McGregor famously played Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars episodes I-III.

The actual filming on the directing side of things (Grant Heslov) is pretty forgettable and standard.  There’s nothing particularly flashy or artistic about the shots making them as bland as the desert the characters find themselves in.  And the film is constantly and annoyingly narrated by Wilton who’s accent fades in and out.

In the end, I felt like watching this film was a complete waste of my time.  But, for some reason, watching the trailer makes me feel like I’m being too judgmental… until I realize all of (and I mean all of) the good parts are in the trailer.  And yes, this was the third Jeff Bridges film I saw in a week.

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