Director: Grant Heslov
Starring: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges
We love Ewan McGregor too much, so we make him do an American accent too much, so we can see him in more Hollywood roles, and the result isn’t always pretty. He’s a tremendous actor; incredible and bright and likeable and funny and talented. But that doesn’t mean he’s right for every role, and that’s the case in The Men Who Stare at Goats, a film that did most everything wrong or at least fool-headed. Even George Clooney can’t save the filmmakers’ bacon, because he shouldn’t have been anywhere near this project, it’s too odd, too messy, and the result is a movie that almost no one on the face of planet Earth enjoyed.
This is the semi-true story of a covert department of the U.S. Military that was tasked with developing psychic weapons, or at least researching their possibility. Bob was a journalist on the hunt for a story and for some adventure when he stumbled upon Lyn, an ex-soldier who claimed to be a psychic Jedi, able to use his mind as a weapon, to influence enemies, and to find anything in the world. Obviously Bob was skeptical, but Lyn seemed so convinced, and had so many stories to tell about Bill, the grunt turned guru who trained him. Part of this is history, part is complete hogwash, but it’s up to you to decide where the line lies, and who might be more than they appear.
It’s fairly interesting, the real aspects of this film, which are themselves debatable. There really was a psychic division, they really did stare at goats to try to stop their hearts, it really did morph into something of a psychological warfare department, but the rest is pretty silly. And it’s the rest that brings down the wobbly bridge, because as a movie goes, this one doesn’t have what it takes to stand. Heslov isn’t really a director, McGregor isn’t really American, Clooney doesn’t really seem committed, and the rest of the cool cast couldn’t do much to help out: Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Stephen Root, Nick Offerman. No one was where they were supposed to be, the feel was way off, and I’m not sure what the original intention was, but this finished product couldn’t have been it.
My rating: ☆ ☆