Thursday 26 January 2012

Moneyball [2011]

Bennett Miller had shown incredible maturity as a filmmaker with his debut film Capote. Consequently it was but natural that Moneyball was greeted with considerable anticipation, more so for the fact that, this, which is only his second movie, has been made a whopping six years after the first. Adapted from a best-selling non-fiction, the movie is about Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a washed out former player who, as the GM of just another pushover team, ends up reshaping the scouting process in big-league baseball. In this unconventional journey of his he gets a partner in the form of an Ivy League Economics grad, and the two, to the severe discontentment of all those around them, use analytical tools as opposed to intuition while signing players for their team. And the result of this radical approach turned out to be nothing short of a landmark. One reviewer aptly summed up the film with the words that, one needn’t be a baseball enthusiast to appreciate this movie, and I couldn’t agree more with that as I’m a classic example of a person who had a nice time watching it despite never having followed the game. The reason for that is actually quite simple – it is not so much about the game as what happens behind the scenes, and hence could have been equally relevant had the game in question had been, say, football (soccer), cricket or any other big-budget team sports. The film is leisurely paced and is largely devoid of any spectacular buildups or scintillating moments; it is, rather, quietly engaging thanks to the subtlety in the script and the understated nature of its emotional content. Brad Pitt is spot-on as the unassuming protagonist with the courage to deviate from the tried and tested path. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, however, might have been in the film only for old-times’ sake as his role didn’t really need to be graced by a powerful thespian like him.


Director: Bennett Miller
Genre: Drama/Sports Drama/Biopic
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Yes, I do agree Shubhajit, that Phillip Seymour Hoffmann was in this for old-times sake as his role was largely symbolic. But yes, all things considered this is a solid film, that as you confirm can appeal even to those who are not baseball devotees. Brad Pitt in his quirly eccentric turn delivers one of the finest performances of his career, and the script and Miller's direction are impressive. The winning streak section is a real crowd pleaser as well.

Great review here!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yeah, but it was sad to see a powerful actor like Hoffman thoroughly wasted. And yeah, this might very well rank among Brad Pitt's finest moments, alongside the likes of Fight Club, Seven, The Assassination of Jesse James..., etc. Though this didn't reach the kind of heights he achieved with Capote, but it sure proves that Miller is one director whose career is worth following keenly.