Movie Review On “The Men Who Stare at Goats” Starring George Clooney
You might not know that theres a silly side to the military-industrial complex, but the folks behind The Men Who Stare at Goats certainly do.
The title, taken from a nonfiction book about the Pentagon dabbling in the paranormal, here describes a secret faction of the U.S. army led by enlightened Vietnam vet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges, out-duding the Big Lebowski), who believes that new-age mysticism can resolve conflict, or at least help you put out an enemys eye while dancing. What we know of this odd squad comes from psychically gifted former soldier Lyn Cassady (George Clooney, who also helped produce) when he reluctantly befriends a callow journalist (Ewan McGregor) in Kuwait on the eve of Iraqs 2003 liberation.
According to Cassady, the armys secret skills have gone way beyond bending spoons (there was a goats heart involved, after all), but his so-called superpowers come into question when he and the boy reporter cross the border and find trouble in the desert. Working from Peter Straughans breezy script, director Grant Heslov, best known for writing Good Night, and Good Luck. for Clooney, keeps things jumping back to earlier days, as Djangos work is gradually undone by a rival telepath played scarily by Kevin Spacey.
The filmmakers imply plenty about American imagineering, which somehow unites fantasies of instant democracy with the mercenary spirit of Halliburton and other lucky corporations cashing in on year zero, as one gun-wielding bigwig puts it. But the references are more rib-tickling than moralistic, and Goats keeps things zanily aloftat least until a final, MASHlike sequence that eventually fizzles like a solar barbecue on a rainy day. Theres some great staring up till then, though.