The Men Who Stare At Goats (15)
Dir. Grant Heslov
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: Goatbusters
What I’m about to share with you is highly confidential.
My name is Lyn Cassady and I’m what you might describe as a psychic spy. People also refer to me as a Jedi warrior – because of my incredible ‘mental’ abilities – because I’m strong ‘in the Force’.
This is my crazy tale (every thing is based on real events), it details what happens when earnest reporter Bob Wilton(Ewan McGregor) joined up with me to blow the lid on the top secret military training program. This secret ‘New Age’ unit was founded by Colonel Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) in order combat the Russian threat of psychic warfare… We wielded unworldly powers, some of us could ‘run through walls’, others could see the future – me? I could kills with my thoughts alone – a feat that tipped me over to the dark side when I misused my powers on an unfortunate goat…
My character of Lyn Cassady is portrayed in The Men Who Stare At Goats by that George Clooney chap, who effortlessly mixes his Ocean’s Eleven charm with his screwball comedy work from films like O Brother Where Art Thou? The result is a hilarious romp that uncovers the drug fuelled insanity that passed for one of the U.S Military’s crack(ed) battalions that swallowed massive amounts of funding and delivered, um, well a guy who could kill goats…
"You looking at me?"
Director Heslov delivers a winning experience that balances the strong wacky comedy elements and mix them in with some great dramatic moments. Most of these come in the form of the battle of wits and minds between Cassady and his nemesis Larry Hooper (an excellently sinister Kevin Spacey).
There is lots to enjoy here, McGregor is less wooden than he has been recently, Clooney is on supernova form in the lead role and Bridges revels in his nutty role which is a spiritual successor to The Big Lebowski’s ‘The Dude’.
Star Wars fans will get particular thrills from the excellent Star Wars references and in-jokes that sparkle in the script that will have you laughing out loud. This is a very different sort of military film, even the gun battle action here is of the madcap kind – including a great scene where two rival security forces end up fight each other unaware of who they are actually shooting at.
For this year’s most unique and funny war movie – you don’t need to be a Jedi Warrior to know that you should be staring at The Men Who Stare At Goats.
Darkmatters final rating of: ööööööööö (9 – it's a mess, but it's a brilliant mess)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 7 (some Jedi battles...)
Style 8 (tripping that psi-vibe)
Babes 3 (most of the characters are male - or goats)
Comedy 8 (very funny stuff)
Horror 5 (not very grim)
Spiritual Enlightenment 8 (use the Force!!)