Sunday, December 31, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Good Shepherd

There was a trailer not long ago saying that this film was The Godfather of C.I.A films. That's pretty accurate. It starts with the Foreign Intelligence service during World War II and continues through to the Cold War and The Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba. Matt Damon's Edward Wilson is the perfect example of a C.I.A. spook that is quiet and calculating and does not appear to be affected by much. This film captures all of the nuance of the Cold War and its Cold Warriors. Just like in the Godfather trust is a difficult thing to achieve and sustain.

Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) is a man with many secrets. While at Yale he joins the secret fraternity of Skull and Bones, whose members range from Doctors to lawyers even presidents. From the very beginning of the film Edward is being groomed for covert work. They task him to train with British Intelligence during World War II and later hire him to test his mental mettle against the Communists of the Soviet Union. He has a chilly relationship with his wife Clover, (Angelina Jolie) and his son, who doesn't know his father well, is scared to death of him.

Director Robert De Niro has spared no expense in acquiring a top notch cast other than the leads I have mentioned; Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, Michael Gambon, Billy Crudup, Timothy Hutton, Joe Pesci, John Turturro and of course Robert De Niro himself. The film explores the history of the espionage service and how difficult it is to spot an ally or to completely trust anyone. It is also interesting to figure out who the real Edward Wilson truly is as we see him through various stages of his life. He seems to be more at peace while at College looking ahead to his future and falling in love. The girl (Tammy Blanchard) is deaf and does not have his aristocratic blood running through her veins, which makes it difficult for him to truly be with her. As he is being prodded into his career he seems to emotionally detach himself from his personal life. Matt Damon does an incredible job of balancing on the trip wire very similar in many ways to the performance by Gene Hackman in the Conversation. De Niro really turns in an extraordinary directing job weaving the true history of our country into this fictional tale.

Grade 5 Buckets

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