THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
SYNOPSIS: In this quirky dark comedy inspired by a real life story you will hardly believe is actually true,
astonishing revelations about a top-secret wing of the U.S. military come to light when a reporter
encounters an enigmatic Special Forces operator on a mind-boggling mission.
Reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is in search of his next big story when he encounters Lyn
Cassady (Academy Award® winner George Clooney), 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 program’s
founder, Bill Django (Oscar® nominee Jeff Bridges), has gone missing and Cassady’s mission is to find
Intrigued by his new acquaintance’s far-fetched stories, Bob impulsively decides to accompany him on
the search. When the pair tracks Django to a clandestine training camp run by renegade psychic Larry
Hooper (two-time Oscar® winner Kevin Spacey), the reporter is trapped in the middle of a grudge
match between the forces of Django’s New Earth Army and Hooper’s personal militia of super
soldiers. In order to survive this wild adventure, Bob will have to outwit an enemy he never thought
REVIEW: Bob Wilton: So what you're saying is that... you, are a uh... psychic spy?
Lyn Cassady: A Jedi warrior.
One of the more amusing parts of this movie is the fact that these particular soldiers are sometimes referred to as Jedi warriors and George Clooney’s character, Lyn Cassady, calls himself a Jedi warrior in response to Bob Wilton who is played by Ewan McGregor who just so happens to have also played a character named Obi Wan Kenobi, an actual Jedi warrior, from a movie series you might have heard of. Well isn’t that clever. It’s also somewhat silly, just like the title, and the plot too. The movie is clever and original but something was missing. After seeing previews and with the cast that it has, my expectations were pretty high and it just didn’t reach them. It seemed to lack substance, meat, something to grab a hold of. There were a couple of times that I asked myself “okay, so what’s the point?” There is something of a theme of liberation that develops, but hardly enough to sink your teeth into. The film is not a total waste, though. There is an excellent cast, a decent script with some very funny moments, and it is intriguingly bizarre, both the story as well as the characters. The purpose is what is hard to decipher.
Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) are two of the more talented members of the New Earth Army headed by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges). Bob Wilton, a newspaper reporter, happens to stumble on this hidden branch of the U.S. Army and he wants to do a piece on it. Of course this entails tagging along with Lyn for the ride of his life. When it comes to Lyn, though, “the force is strong with this one” so Bob couldn’t have tagged along with anyone better. The New Earth Army is all about being Earth friendly to the point of exaggeration, but that makes them very impractical. As for their abilities, well you’ll be asking yourself if this is legit or is it just a bunch of bull. This in part is thanks to the excellent performances given by the exceptional cast. George stands above the rest in that aspect. He is really cranking out some fantastic work with his recent movies. He is funny and quirky, mysterious yet blunt with this character. Both Jeff and Ewan were as good as you would expect nothing more nothing less. I expected more out of Kevin, however. He didn’t stand out as much as I thought he would. Granted, his role was not very big. The biggest surprise for me in regards to this film was the Director. Grant Heslov is one of those guys that very few know by name but can be easily recognized because he’s been in so many movies. He had supporting roles in Dante’s Peak, True Lies, Congo, and Enemy of the State to name a few and one of his biggest roles was in Scorpion King as the main sidekick . . . yeah, that guy. Well, he has directed a few things already and he did okay with this one, but there is room for improvement. I do see that he has potential to improve. I really wanted to like this movie and I don’t regret seeing it, but it is hard to recommend.
By Cine Marcos
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