The Men Who Stare At Goats ***


The Men Who Stare At Goats” is a remarkably silly yet very entertaining movie.   Apparently quite a bit of this movie is based on actual events.  I would be interested to know which events are some what factual.

The story follows Bob Wilton, a reporter, played by Ewan McGregor.  His life comes apart in some of the worst ways possible.  When war breaks out in Iraq, he finds himself trying to prove his worth by reporting from the front lines.  It is here that he hooks up with Lyn Cassady played by George Clooney.  Lyn reveals that he was part of an American army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors"), trained to develop a range of para psychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, cloud bursting, walking through walls, and intuition.  Clooney’s explanation of these skills is some of the funniest work he has done.  In fact his performance is razor sharp in terms of humour. 

His unit was founded by Bill Django, played by Jeff Bridges.  Bridges plays this role as a laid back hippie type.  Almost like “The Dude” except years before retiring to bowling alleys.  Django’s two best recruits were Cassady and Larry Hooper played by Kevin Spacey.  Cassady and Hooper have a life long rivalry due to their conflicting views on how these skill should be implemented in the military.  Spacey gives his best performance in years but the real chemistry in the movie is between McGregor and Clooney.

Clooney gives one of his funniest performances since “Ocean’s Eleven”.  He takes these concepts more seriously then I’d imagine the military every would.   McGregor’s fascination with his story is entertaining in itself. 

I love dark comedy like this especially when it is done well.   Grant Heslov who has written and produced some good movies in recent years, grows naturally in to the role of director.  I look forward to his future works. 


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