Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Ask Angela Lansbury

I have literally just walked in the door from seeing The Men Who Stare At Goats. For some reason I was quite looking forward to this film. I don't know why, it might have simply been the ridiculousness of the title. The cast is pretty good (Clooney, Bridges, Spacey, McGregor) and it's a pretty cool name for anything.

I'm quite gobsmacked by it. Either something went waaaaay over my head, or everyone involved with it was drinking water spiked with acid (that's an in joke you'll get if you see it... and that's not something I'd really recommend.)

Ewan McGregor plays a journalist who is posted to write a story on a local man claiming he was part of a secret US military division who were developing superpowers - as in, we can walk through walls and predict things, rather than Russia and the USA during the Cold War. After his marriage breakdown he goes to Iraq to try and prove himself a man and rather fortuitously happens across George Clooney in a bar, who was once a part of this division. We learn through McGregor retelling what Clooney told him about the history of the corp, the people involved (Jeff Bridges founded it, Kevin Spacey undermined it), and the ultimate downfall of the unit. But in Iraq some strange things happen and maybe McGregor starts to believe...

It actually starts out all right. It all seems very far-fetched, but as McGregor's character (and what is with his accent? It's fine for a lot of it, but, particularly at the beginning, it falters quite noticeably quite a few times) warms to it so do we. But it does completely lost the plot. I'm not sure whether it was trying for some sort of I Heart Huckabees existential commentary, an anti-war film, a pro-war film, a supernatural film... whatever it was trying for, it completely missed. It's a mess, especially towards the end (and the ending - WTF? Seriously. W. T. F.), though it does look quite good. Clooney also produced, so one must assume that he saw something in it that tickled his funny bone (and there are some funny parts, with the funniest being the line marking the title of this entry) and now has enough might to pull together the US$25mil to make it. Director Grant Heslov is a dual Oscar nominee for his writing and producing credits on Good Night, And Good Luck, but he also has over 60 credits on IMDb as an actor. This is his debut feature as director, and possibly having the writer of How To Lost Friends And Alienate People as the adaptor of this novel didn't help matters. I think the script needed some serious work, especially that ending. I'm not going to go into too many details, but seriously. Seriously.

I don't know how many stars to give this film. It was so diabolical as to get one, but two seems a little generous, so I'm going to run with 1.5 Stars. I rate out of five. So that a 30% score. Head out and see it, however, if it sounds interesting, because I'd definitely be interested to know if I just missed something amazingly important somehow. It has boggled my mind.

1 comment:

  1. Mate,
    This is a 5.5 out of 5 movie. It's genius because it makes a story by reusing real happenings and turning them into a fiction e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA

    It all makes sense, but you have to try to understand something new rather than expecting a neat little hollywood self-contained story where they explain everything in the first 15 minutes so you dont have to do any thinking yourself.