The Men Who Stare at Goats
We love George Clooney. If there was ever a man who looks like he could build a log cabin using wood he chopped himself, mixing a martini at the same time, while wearing a tux with a perfectly crafted bow tie, it’s him. Seriously, which other actor could come back from the horror that was Batman & Robin to be one of Hollywood’s leading men? And if you don’t think that’s impressive, go ask Val Kilmer how life is treating him post Bruce Wayne duty. So when we settled into our cinema seat to watch his new film The Men Who Stare at Goats, we knew we were in for a treat – especially as from the trailer Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor were all seemingly on top form in their supporting roles. They were and a treat is exactly what we got!
Based on a book of the same name by journalist Jon Ronson, the film follows reporter Bob Wilton (McGregor) who stumbles into the story of a lifetime when he meets Special Forces operator Lynn Cassidy (Clooney). Lynn had been the most gifted recruit in the New Earth Army, a group of elite psychic spies, or Jedi Warriors, trained in manner of parapsychological techniques including remote viewing, invisibility and phasing. Finding himself accompanying Lynn on a covert mission in Iraq, Bob learns all about the New Earth Army, Lynn’s mentor Bill Django (Bridges) and troublesome recruit Larry Hooper (Spacey) and to some degree himself. But what starts as a secret mission soon turns in to a journey of redemption. It was also a rediscovery for Lynn of the New Earth Army’s principles (which took a turn for the worse when he used his psychic powers to stop the heart of a goat).
The Men Who Stare at Goats is insane (Jedi Warriors – really?). It’s probably even more insane than Burn After Reading but there is a major difference – it has heart. The heart may be crazier than that of an old lady who lives with 348 cats and a budgie called Norman, but its heart all the same, which is why we loved it. And the fact that many of the most humorous lines between the main characters were actually real and documented only made us love it more! That’s not to say the film isn’t without its problems it does. We could say Ewan McGregor’s accent is rubbish, which it is (see our review on Law Abiding Citizen for more on Scottish actors and the American accent). Or we could say there is potentially an over reliance on George Clooney’s quirkiness factor. But by saying it, it would be negative of us and that’s not New Earth Army protocol now is it?