The Men Who Stare At Goats
- Rob Carnevale
- 30 October 2009
Grant Heslov’s trippy satire is a fun if inconsequential experience that boasts a stellar cast in good form.
Inspired by Jon Ronson’s non-fiction book, the film ‘lifts the lid’ on a US military experiment to create ‘psychic soldiers/Jedi warriors’ as part of a New Earth Army designed to preach love, not war.
Stumbling upon this truer-than-you-think scenario is journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), whose investigations bring him into contact with Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), an ex-soldier who insists he has been re-activated for a new mission in Iraq. En route, Cassady reveals more about his training under hippy commander Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) and the slow corruption of the New Earth ideology.
Heslov’s debut feature, while considerably lighter than Ronson’s eye-popping novel and by no means as probing, is nevertheless a slickly directed, sharply written and wittily performed crowd-pleaser.
Clooney shines, Bridges recalls the laidback cool of The Dude and Kevin Spacey offers a wickedly sardonic nemesis. Heslov, meanwhile, competently juggles shifting time-frames, multiple locations, humour and drama to ensure a keen mix of silliness and intelligence.
General release from Fri 6 Nov.