SKYCITY Reader Film Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats


SKYCITY Reader Film Review - COMEDY: 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, on MiNDFOOD.

Recently jilted small town journalist, Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), wants to
prove his masculinity by covering the war in Kuwait. There he meets Lyn
Cassady (George Clooney) who claims to be a former member of the US
Army’s First Earth Battalion, a unit that employs paranormal powers on
their missions.

Firstly, if I had to make a list of great actors
who excel in comedy it would be the cast of this film. All
deftly manage to walk the fine line between realistic character portrayal and bizarre comedic performance. My only gripe with the casting is
McGregor and Jeff Bridges, who plays army officer Bill Django.

The Men Who
Stare At Goats
plays like a satirical war film reminiscent of Catch-22,
Dr. Strangelove and Three Kings, exploring the idea that military intelligence is an oxymoron. The film is funny, with a witty
script and expert delivery, but feels slightly unsatisfying. I wasn’t
sure what the film was trying to say.

– Alan D. Parr

To look at the cast list for this film would be to assume that a
Hollywood studio had invested a hefty sum of money into it. Not so. In fact, it’s partly funded by a capital management company which, to be
perfectly honest, sounds slightly on the Madoff side of dodgy. The
reason for this backing is that the film is another one of George Clooney’s
“interesting” projects. This is not to discredit the man, who has to a
large degree shunned typically bad, big budget Hollywood fare ever
since the debacle that was Batman & Robin.

Here, long-time
Clooney affiliate Grant Heslov (he helped make Clooney’s Good Night, and
Good Luck
) inhabits the director’s chair. He does a satisfactory job and
conjures up some memorable images: a naked gun-wielding soldier going
berserk during morning marching drills is the first to come to mind.

But for the most part Helsov simply lets his big name subjects
do their thing. Kevin Spacey is back to his smarmy best. Clooney
harnesses his O Brother, Where Art Thou? kookiness (though he adds a
touch of melancholy to the mix). McGregor, again equipped with a
fumbling American accent, is our hero – the everyman. Best of all is Jeff Bridges, who takes his The Big Lebowski persona to the limit,
going full hippie.

All this is to say nothing of the plot,
which, due to its back-and-forth-in-time structure, is probably best
not disclosed here so as to not ruin the surprises. Let’s just say it
involves training a unit (dubbed the New Earth Army) for peace, LSD and
Iraq. Oh, and at one point a
man does stare at a goat.

– Matt Livingstone

“You could be forgiven for thinking this movie is the work of the
Cohen brothers – the humour in it is definitely dry. George Clooney,
Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges appeared to be perfect for the roles
they played. Sandra Devlin

“A brilliant, funny and in places also absurd, satire comedy. I loved it, it was a good laugh.” Stepanka

“This story is one of identity and fitting in, one that we can all relate. A humorous tale of hope and inspiration that will leave you with a smile on your face.” Reena Johal

“Take a pinch of Get Smart, a touch of Monty Python’s “Self defence against fresh fruit” and blend into a Mad Magazine movie parody apparently set during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.” Angelique Finucane

“I think the director was trying to end the film sooner but couldn’t, and so we are pulled along on this slow rollercoaster that has the occasional laughs.” Greg Buchanan


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