The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey
Directed by Grant Heslov
Rated R for language, some drug content and brief nudity
Appropriate for ages 17+

    Ewan McGregor is a reporter from Ann Arbor who discovers a secret branch of the military that deals with expanding their paranormal abilities.  When he meets an operative (Clooney) in Kuwait that belongs to this branch, he follows him to Iraq where they get in and out of trouble and have to rely on powers of the mind to get to safety.  

    I’ve had several days to think about this film and I’m still not sure what this one is.  There are some good laughs throughout, but I wouldn’t call it a comedy exactly.  Then again, it doesn’t really work as a political commentary either.  It’s not a thriller.  Not an adventure.  Not a drama.  And it’s not so good that it rises above traditional genre.  What I’m getting at is that the film doesn’t work because it has no place to belong.  And the attempt at being clever, such as the casting of the father of all Jedis (McGregor) in a film that discusses Jedis throughout, gets old really quick.

    I’ll admit that the film opened with some good promise.  I liked the idea of a branch of the military dealing with these things and tying this to real-life leaders and situations is a fun concept.  But it felt like either the ideas quit flowing, or the story wasn’t very good to begin with. 

    Even though the film didn’t work well, the acting, especially by Clooney and Bridges, is as good as you’d expect.  They both did a terrific job building their characters and both were a pleasure to watch.  Also, Kevin Spacey plays a very good villain and the more smug he gets, the more enjoyable his performance. C