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Friday, 5 July 2013

Show Me The Moneyball

'Moneyball' is a good addition to the great pantheon of sports movies, to the credit of to-die-for writing team of Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, who do their best to refrain from trotting out the old sports movie clich├ęs (there might be the odd one). Director Bennett Miller does not drop the ball, assembling a good looking film that does for sports stats what ‘The West Wing’ did for politics – look for greatness in the future from the man whose previous and first directing job was ‘Capote’.

A particularly nice touch is the interweaving of flashbacks to the back story of Pitt’s ‘Billy Beane’ through the events of the first act. Brad evokes strong memories of Robert Redford in ‘The Natural’, not just in his physical appearance (increasingly craggy) but in his unhurried delivery and deceptively casual style.

The best elements of 'Moneyball' are the conflicts, especially the head butting between Brad Pitt and the Oakland A’s staff (notably Philip Seymour Hoffman), which is crackling – but without the histrionics of say ‘Any Given Sunday’ (although that has its place). Notably, Jonah Hill puts in a nicely judged performance, good to see him in a serious roll, fitting comfortably in the room with Pitt and Hoffman.

At the bottom of the ninth, 'Moneyball' is everything that 'Jerry Maguire' is not. The characters are engaging and the dead pan humour is glorious. Highly recommended.

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