REVIEW: Moneyball

You could write a very long list of the sports films that there have been over the years where we witness a re-telling of one’s story onto the big-screen both inside and outside of their career, and have either been huge successful Oscar contenders or simply films for entertainment alone. Although sports, let alone films based on them, aren’t always for everybody and considering that baseball perhaps isn’t the most popular sport out there, but despite that Moneyball reveals itself to be another rather sensitive and thought-provoking biographical sports film that takes you on a trip into the financial and tactical aspects of baseball and it teaches its audience quite a number of lessons.

Out of all of the sports that there are, in almost every single one the genre as a whole is usually split into two as it consists of two separate different styles of sport. We have the heavy-going, depressing and rather violently approached films that abide with a lot of physical contact and has a very dark tone to it (i.e. Raging Bull, The Fighter, Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella Man) and there are the slightly easier-going, occasionally funny and rather enlightening ones with still an affectionate story, such as Invictus, The Damned United, The Blind Side and Bend It Like BeckhamMoneyball, however, falls into the latter style and provides a traditional sports film alternatively becomes a brain waving exercise for the mind as it helps gain a more clear understanding of the baseball sport alongside interesting mathematical statistics.

From previously working on Capote in 2005 in his first feature film debut, director Bennett Miller goes on to make only his second theatrical feature and makes a film that isn’t all about the sport itself it features, but it’s an in-depth personal story that is like the occasional underdog story that we have seen over the years. So, it basically focuses more about what goes on from off the pitch rather than on it. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who is the latest winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for David Fincher’s The Social Network, this time not only works on another different genre and another bio-pic, but he’s also not alone as he writes alongside co-Academy Award winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian who wrote the scripts from the likes of Schindler’s List, Hannibal, Gangs Of New York, American Gangster and the American remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Together, Sorkin and Zaillian collaborate and write a very creative and rather sharp script that is worthy of a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. However, there is one problem with Moneyball – the pacing of it is rather slow and drags on a few occasions, so it could’ve been cut short by at least 10-15 minutes.

Brad Pitt has always been a Hollywood favourite ever since the dawning of his career in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but as of late he is providing performances that have bought us a whole new side to him that took him a very long time to show. Following his great performances in recent films such as The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Inglourious Basterds and The Tree Of Life alongside some of the greatest directors of this generation, Pitt provides another performance to remember as Billy Beane. Considering that Brad doesn’t really resemble Beane himself hardly at all and due to Brad’s good looks, his manly nature and his famed status as a recognizable celebrity sex symbol, Brad provides almost his own character and shows that only he could pull it off so exquisitely. So, as a result of this, Brad deserves an Oscar nomination for his role.

Jonah Hill, like Seth Rogen in 50/50, really could have been the induced poison of the film that could have killed and totally ruined it. However, like Rogen, Hill achieves a long-awaited breakthrough as young economics graduate Peter Brand. You may find him incredibly annoying in the majority of the films that he has been in or absolutely hilarious, but the chemistry between him and Pitt on-screen is an almost exact illustration of a real relationship between a teacher and his apprentice. Phillip Seymour Hoffman also delivers a very good performances and adds more sophistication to the film and works alongside Bennett Miller for the second consecutive time in a row after Hoffman’s Academy Award winning performance in Capote. Robin Wright also makes a brief appearance as Beane’s ex-wife Sharon.

Overall, Moneyball is an enjoyable sports film that is, unlike many sports film, a rather enlightening and colourful experience that is all-round interesting to watch. Due to its colourful background and the nature of baseball in general, if you’re either American, Canadian, descent of either or are simply a fan of baseball in general, you may gain the upper hand with this one than others who don’t fit into any of these. To help gain a clearer understanding of baseball, Moneyball is a great starting point and you will feel very glad that you’ve watched it.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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