Monday, 10 January 2011

Film Review: THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS (2009)

Director: Grant Heslov
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 6th November 2009

Watched on Sky+ Monday 10th January 2011.


Having heard the journalist, Jon Ronson, who wrote the book on which this film is based interviewed a couple of times I was intrigued to see this one. Unfortunately, these interviews were all broadcast around the time of the cinema release and I never got the opportunity to see it. Fortunately, it arrived on the BBC just over a year later and so my curiosity was finally satisfied. My thoughts later, but here’s a short summary first (summary haters please stare at those goats over there while I write the next paragraph… sorry, I couldn’t resist that one).

When journalist, Bob Wilton, is separated from his wife in 2002, he decides to go to Iraq to prove himself to her. Here he meets Lyn Skip Cassady, an ex-member of the U.S. Army’s New Earth Army. What’s that I hear you say, well, it’s a special unit set up in the 1980’s to look into using psychic powers as a means of winning a war. The unit was headed by Bill Django who had spent many years studying the ways of the more free-spirited Americans. As Bob and Lyn travel through Iraq Bob learns more about the work of the unit and how he may be involved in the secret mission Lyn is currently on. In flashback we learn that Lyn had a nemesis back at the unit, Larry Hooper, who was to turn up again before the end of the mission.

Although I did find a lot of the humour in this one quite funny, I did find the story a little weak. It’s a pretty well made film with some good performances but I felt a little let down by the plot, particularly the end. Performance wise, George Clooney never missed a beat as Lyn Skip Cassady, Ewan McGregor was ok as Bob Wilton, but he wasn’t really stretched, Jeff Bridges did a great impression of ‘The Dude’ as Bill Django and Kevin Spacey again wasn’t at all stretched as Larry Hooper.

I found it funny that a film starring Ewan McGregor featured an Army unit that called itself ‘The Jedi’. And there are plenty of other little jokes like this throughout the film. If it wasn’t for George Clooney and Jeff Bridges I guess I would have given a lower score, but they just about pushed it to a 6.5 for me. So, over all, if slightly unsatisfying, it’s still worth seeing for Messer’s Clooney and Bridges alone… Recommended (just).

My score: 6.5/10

IMDb Page:
Official Site:

No comments: