Review – Moneyball
When sport films come out, you always hear someone say, “even if you don’t like the sport, you’re still going to love this film.” Get used to hearing that a lot with ‘Moneyball’, but this time it’s all lies. ‘Moneyball’ is about professional baseball and you have to have some interest in the sport to get anything out of this bland drama.
Based on a true story, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the manager of struggling baseball team the Oakland Athletics (the A’s). The A’s field a low-budget side and are constantly beaten by bigger teams with a limitless cash flow with which to recruit good players. Beane meets a young college graduate, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), who believes a champion side can be fielded with little money, using computers and statistics to identify the best players to draft.
‘Moneyball’ is owned by Pitt, and it’s his charm as an actor that just holds the film together. Pitt delivers a good performance, but it’s not a career-best effort. Awards buzz is surrounding Pitt for ‘Moneyball’, but it’s his turn in ‘Tree of Life’ that really warrants shiny statues. The rest of the cast don’t factor into the winning equation, Hill shows he can take on a serious role but isn’t given anything to sink his teeth into, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is like a ghost.
The dialogue in ‘Moneyball’ is nothing but baseball jargon and it’s disappointing to see that screenwriting God Aaron Sorkin worked on the screenplay along with Steven Zaillian. It’s confusing, and you almost need subtitles at the bottom of the screen to follow what’s going on.
The plot moves dreadfully slow and there is no excitement or sense of momentum as the film builds to its finale. It does do a good job of highlighting the evils of professional sport, but that point is made pretty clear in the first 10 minutes.
A warning must go out to any man taking their wife/girlfriend; she will get bored or constantly ask you for an explanation of what’s going on. I lost years of movie brownie points for making my wife sit though ‘Moneyball’. And before you accuse me of being sexist, a group of gentlemen sitting next to us all fell asleep. At one point I almost had to check an elderly man’s pulse to see if he was still alive! It was only his loud snoring that assured me he was still breathing.
‘Moneyball’ is a baseball film made for accountants – plain and simple. You won’t be clapping or fist-pumping at the end, but you might have a sudden urge to do your taxes.
‘Moneyball’ is released 10 November 2011 in Australia.
The Popcorn Junkie