The Men Who Stare at Goats: Movie Review

Alright, I’ve mulled this for a bit too long. I don’t have a great deal to comment on but here are some immediate thoughts. “The Men Who Stare at Goats” didn’t quite do it for me. I was looking forward to seeing this one, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been let down after seeing a great trailer.

This movie starts out strong, but falls flat by the start of the third act, and has almost no pulse. After that, it drags itself across the finish line. The opening scenes are great, and for a moment it felt like a Coen brothers’ film. The comedy was dead on for a bit, but then it became dull quite suddenly. The main problem with this movie is while it’s a mere ninety minutes, it drags, and feels about twice as long.

At the beginning of the movie we get a blip on the screen claiming the following story is true in more ways than people will believe. I believe this claim completely. Here’s why. Most true stories aren’t very interesting. And that’s what this movie is, not very interesting. That’s why I believe it’s nearly all true. One of the first things I learned studying screenwriting was most true stories just don’t cut it. Any time I see “based on a true story” I know most of it is probably b.s. But honestly, that’s the stuff that makes the true stuff more interesting. Very infrequently does an entirely true story have all the ingredients necessary to make a truly great film.

The acting is solid. After all, we’re dealing with Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Ewan McGregor, and George Clooney. They delivered in my opinion. Unfortunately, the rest of the film can’t stand very well. The story simply isn’t engaging. At about the halfway point I stopped caring. It’s the actors that make the film tolerable; if not for them it would have been a complete waste.