Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats

I went to this movie because its cast was wonderful and its premise was silly enough to be entertaining. I expected to be gravely disappointed, but I felt compelled to see it anyway.

In many ways, the film was tailor-made to annoy me. It relies on voice-over. It starts slowly and with relatively uninteresting bits. Its plot careens about in almost random episodes that make you feel as if it's going nowhere.

So, why did I love it?

I'm not entirely sure, but I have a few clues. First, I laughed a lot, and that's a good thing. The cast was indeed wonderful. All the big-name actors you see in the trailer stick to their characters, and they deliver the goods. (Kevin Spacey had the weakest character and the most unremarkable performance, but near the end he does just enough to salvage the role. None of this is his fault, by the way; the script just didn't give him much to work with.) The events all contributed, though most of them obliquely, to the ending. By the time we reached that ending, I cared what happened.

Most of all, though, what charmed me is that the movie ultimately refused to back away from the thin line it was walking until the very last scene, when it firmly and completely chose a side--and it was the side I wanted.

I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, so I'm not going to tell you more. If you're heading to a theater anytime soon, check it out.


John Lambshead said...

What I find most worrying is that it is apparently based on real events,

Mark said...

I find that both fascinating and amusing.


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