The Good Shepherd

My brother-in-law John’s dad (his real name is Howard but he always goes by “Foot”) treated John and me to a movie on Saturday night — The Good Shepherd. I was a little disappointed, because of how much praise I’d heard lavished on this movie ahead of time. While the acting was great, it was hard to treat it as a historical film given that the main character (played by Matt Damon) was a fictionalized composite, and it was hard to treat it as a spy drama when there was so little action or insight into the spying business or how the CIA was actually created. For all of its three hour running time, it feels like not much happens. I didn’t get bored, and I appreciated a lot of what was shown as a character drama, but ultimately I expected and wanted more. Be warned that the pace is quite slow, and Matt’s character is very remote and unemotional most of the time, which makes it difficult to relate to him.

Joe Pesci appears out of nowhere for one scene; Robert De Niro is only in a couple. But it is a very impressive cast overall.

One problem for me is that Matt Damon simply looks 25 to me. (I know he’s actually 36.) When called upon to be 55, his face just cannot do the job.

I was amused that another movie with a similar title, The Good German, was released the same week. (I haven’t seen it.) I thought of mixing the two, but someone already beat me to it. Hah.

2 Responses to “The Good Shepherd”

  1. Lacy Tree Says:

    Thanks for the review Stephen. I was thinking of going to see that but now will wait until it comes out on DVD. I went to see “We are Marshall” which I thought was very good.

  2. Stephen Says:

    I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t think I’d have been able to sit through this in my living room — I’d have fallen asleep. In a movie theatre you’ll pay more attention (which is necessary because some of the plot is a bit complex). Maybe a matinee?

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