Home > Review > The Men Who Stare At Goats – 2 1/2 stars

The Men Who Stare At Goats – 2 1/2 stars

The first half hour of this film was near death. The movie starts off with Ewan McGregor plays a small city journalist who is reporting into a secret military unit that uses psychic powers to fight war. First of all, McGregor is the least convincing small city journalist that you will ever see on screen. His personal life is in shambles. McGregor’s wife leaves him for a one armed man. Burned by this, McGregor decides to go to Iraq to report on the frontline so that he can prove to his wife that he is man. This reasoning makes perfect sense, right? Worst of all, McGregor with his really fake American accent, narrates the entire movie.

But things start to get better when in Iraq he meets with up with George Clooney, a former member of this secret U.S. military psychic devision. Clooney really saved the movie for me. You have to give it up to Clooney, he really commits to this role. You buy that his character really believes that he has psychic powers. This also applies to Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, who play fellow psychic military soldiers. There is no winking to the camera here.

When the film dwells into the history of this U.S. military psychic organization it becomes a much more interesting, funny movie. We don’t really need the McGregor character as the conduit into this bizarre, fascinating world. The film does feature some genuine funny moments, such as Clooney bursting clouds with his mind while he drives.

Toward the last third of the picture the film does lose its energy in terms of narrative. I’ve heard other critics say this, and the more I think about, the more I agree with this sentiment. This is director Grant Heslov’s first feature film and he still needs to work on how to execute this kind of material in a clear, concise way.

This film has a interesting premise, and a great cast, not including the bore McGregor. The problem is it never really reaches it’s full potential.

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