Watch – Moneyball

2011-11-26 13:20

Film: Moneyball (Ster Kinekor)

Director: Bennett Miller

Featuring: Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill and Robin Wright

Rating: 7/10

This is a baseball movie, based on a true story. Before you yawn and move on – it stars Brad Pitt.

Also, it is co-written by the guy who managed to turn the story of Facebook into an Oscar winner, Aaron Sorkin.

His co-scriptwriter is Steven Zaillian, who has penned a number of Oscar winners himself including The Gangs of New York and American Gangster.

Add to that Bennett Miller, who hasn’t made a film since his 2005 Oscar winner Capote, directs.

With Miller putting the flesh on Zaillian and Sorkin’s skeleton and Pitt animating it, Moneyball gets the audience’s emotional buy-in in minutes. Essential, as there’s some pretty complicated mathematics and statistical stuff going on.

Based on the true story of team manager Billy Beane, a former player himself, this is about what goes on off the field – the high stakes buying and selling of players to create super teams that get the really big bucks from advertisers and sponsors.

Beane, the manager of a relatively poor team, is sick and tired of having his team gutted by the big guns at the end of every season and not having the money to fight back.

After a little moaning, he finds a solution in an unexpected place – a finance graduate, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), with a numbers system. It’s about picking players who make good team players, not stars who outshine the team.

Far from being the expected sports-as-a-metaphor-for-life flick, this is more like David and Goliath, which is why you’ll like it.

That, and Pitt – who gives yet another Oscar worthy performance. Time will tell if he gets another nomination, but with this being an all-American story and a true one at that, the odds are good.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who won Best Actor for Capote, wanders through this film as Beane’s coach.

He’s not buying the new system, but when credit time comes he’s happy to take it. Hoffman, one of the best character actors in the business, manages to capture his character in a maximum of 10 minutes of film time, which is all he gets.

Hill, who usually stars in horny teen flicks, is endearing as the clever boy who revolutionises baseball. Rounding out the cast is Robin Wright as Beane’s ex-wife, another actor who needs little time to build a complete character as she proves here.

Moneyball might not be your natural first choice for a Friday night, but that’s what the film’s all about, making choices based on factors other than bells, whistles and hype.

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