The Good Shepherd (2006)

I went to a lot of movies this weekend. Well, three, but three is kind of a lot, I think. One was Children of Men again, and I liked it every bit as much the second time. Another was The Hitcher, which I’ll discuss later. The first one, though, was The Good Shepherd, Robert De Niro’s largely failed Oscar-bait story of the founding of the CIA. I’ve been busy with things as well as stuff, but I also have been trying to let the film marinate in my brain juices so I could figure out what to say about it. It’s three and a half days later, and I’m still really not there yet.

Was the acting good? Yes. Did I like it? I did. Am I trying to fill up an entire paragraph with a Rumsfeld impersonation? I’m pretty sure he was never in the CIA, so that wouldn’t fit the theme; therefore, I will lie and say no. Was the movie too long? Maybe, but it’s a pretty dense subject. I think it comes down to whether you’re extremely interested in that subject, or to whether you care about CIA guy Edward Wilson’s experiences and the effect his devotion to the job had on his family, and the effect his family had on his devotion to the job. Because there’s a really good character study on the question of where cause ends and effect begins hidden in that script, behind layers of Bays of Pigs and deaf girls inexplicably going out for nights at the opera and in-depth studies of Skull and Bones, “the most secret society in America”. For the record, it does a much better job of portraying the character study than of exploring the early CIA, so if you’re after the latter, it probably is too long, after all.

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