Newest Review: ... field. He should know, he's the prime example of someone who should have been Hall of Fame but couldn't even survive a season in the big g... more
Pitching for a perfect random team
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Acting, style, maturity and presentation
Disadvantages: Nothing to be honest
Looking at the billing for this and seeing Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill as the main two actors, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you're about to watch a comedy. I was certainly expecting this, having not actually seen or read anything about this film before watching it. However, this is far from the truth, the only comedic moments coming from the awkwardness Pitt's character occasionally shows throughout the film.
Pitt plays Billy Beane, fallen baseball star who has taken over as the GM of the Oakland As, a Major League team that struggles to reach the dizzy heights of the better known teams due to its shortfall of funds and lack of clout at the draft each year. Billy has his work cut out as he is quick to recognise that a player can be all he promises on paper and still not deliver on the field. He should know, he's the prime example of someone who should have been Hall of Fame but couldn't even survive a season in the big game.
Based on a true story, this film sees Beane hire Peter Brand, an economics graduate who looks at a player's offensive stats and computer analysis rather than the player himself to work out their worth, and thus ensues a season based solely around a team who can load bases, with not a big gun in sight. The failed pitcher, the first baseman who is scared of a ball being thrown to him, and an ageing star are all part of the motley crew employed to get the As a championship title, and the cast actually do a very good job of leading us through the plot.
Pitt and Hill stand out from the rest, although I'm not sure whether this is just because they are lead names on the list. They certainly get the lion's share of screen time, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman providing the attempted reason as head coach Art Howe who tries to put out the most logical team based on who he sees and the likelihood of winning a game. Beane's idea is taken from Brand, who came across an economics professor's way of predicting the success of a baseball player by eradicating all personality traits, off field antics and age, and looking solely at computer generated stats on the field on offense. What you end up with is an impressive stream of scenes where you see a team transformed slowly but surely from a gang of has beens and never will bes into a team that could challenge for the title.
The true story nature of it may not provide many surprises, but this is more about one man's attempts to give others a shot and prove he has the nouse for the game that he stalled with when he was a player. There's plenty of emotion, and it's a drama that exposes a lot of the acting as opposed to the action taking a front line. It is well scripted and cleverly directed, bravely even given that its running time is longer than similar sports drama films often are. Sports films tend to be either short or focused on the action, and this does neither, kind of providing a different viewpoint to most in its genre. The acting is top notch for the most part, with Pitt providing his usual ease in front of the camera and Hill surprisingly brilliant as the nervous and inexperienced young analyst.
I was very impressed with the film and thought the maturity it presented and the way it told the story were praiseworthy indeed. If you're after an entertaining and interesting drama then Moneyball is certainly worth a watch. I was pleasantly surprised indeed, as this is not normally the sort of film I would choose and I'm glad I did. Recommended.
Summary: Impressive sports drama focusing on a baseball team's struggles to rise against adversity
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