Movie Review Rewind: The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
The Men Who Stare At Goats is an odd but witty film with great performances by George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, and Ewan McGregor. This film reminds me of Burn After Reading a little bit because of the humor. The way the characters are running around everywhere, you are not quite sure what they are doing or how the story is going to end. But, one thing I do know is I enjoyed every minute of it.
“More of this is true than you would believe” is the first thing you see when the film begins. It is a very interesting and relevant line to use for this film. Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a reporter who is practically down and out in his life. So, he goes to Kuwait hoping to get into Iraq to cover the war. He wants a scoop that will change his life. He gets just that, but in a way he never saw coming.
Bob meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), who claims to be a part of a secret unit made of psychic soldiers (aka Jedi Warriors). This unit was run by Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) and his character seems a lot like the famous Lebowski that he will forever be known as. Bill is a hippie who learned from Vietnam that you cannot win with violence. But, to fight your enemies with peace and love.
These men fight with their minds. Lyn and men alike can make clouds burst and make animals’ hearts stop. The question is if it is all real? Are these soldiers capable of doing such things or is it just all in their heads? Well you will have to see this film for yourself. But I can tell you these “Jedi Warriors” believe wholeheartedly that they are the real deal.
Lyn is the best of the best. He is in the history books for making a goat’s heart stop just by looking at it. So Lyn is going on a secret mission to Iraq. This is Bob’s chance to get in as well. So, Lyn and Bob go on this adventure and the film becomes a road trip of sorts. As the journey goes along, we learn more about Lyn and the secret unit, and how it was built up and then torn down.
Clooney is fantastic as Lyn. He is brilliant at being goofy. We have seen it before in O Brother Where Art Thou and Burn After Reading, and it is some of his best work when he takes on roles like these. His character is funny, but the entire film leans more towards being witty than laugh-out-loud. And, McGregor is good as Bob. Unfortunately, his character is not as intriguing as Lyn or Bill.
I can’t forget about Kevin Spacey who plays the villain in the film. He becomes jealous of Lyn and he thinks he is the best of them all. He is manipulative and has more power than the other soldiers ever knew. Spacey does not have a huge part, but he shines in every scene he is in. This role lets him be a little more free. We get to see Spacey be funny for once and not so serious as his roles usually are.
The Men Who Stare At Goats is relevant with the times of being in war and dealing with secrets that we may never find out about. But the film is lighthearted and takes a serious issue, such as war, and makes it a part of a story that is wild and funny. Now it does a take a turn on the path of being serious towards the end, but the mixture works well. The film has wit and the actors simply seem to be having a good time. So will you.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.