Paul Dundon’s Weblog

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A little cheese and a little whine

Film log: The Men who Stare at Goats

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This gentle comment on what the invasion of Iraq says about American culture pulls many of its punches, but is nonetheless moving and in places laugh out loud funny. Ostensibly about the army’s use of psychic powers, it is really about idealists trying to pass on the torch to the next generation in an increasingly hostile world. The film lets us decide whether or not the powers are real until the (slightly unsatisfactory) final moments where they become a metaphor for the idealism at the heart of the movie.

Like all films about eldership, the film is part quest, part love story, and the chemistry between Clooney and McGregor captures the younger man’s spiritual need of the elder without eroticising it or reducing it to bromance. The focus of the film is on idealism being passed down in this relationship (echoed in Clooney’s relationship with Bridges) rather than any particular set of ideals and this, combined with some wonderful comedy, stops it becoming preachy.

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Filed under: Film + TV

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My Bookshelf

The Golden Bough
The Value of Nothing
The Fire
A Wolf at the Table
Devil Bones

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