A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.
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The theater lights go dark after the previews conclude and a message appears on the movie screen.
"More of this is true than you would believe," reads the message and movie goers enter a world where the U.S. Army has trained psychics to be used to help with Army matters.
Throw in a great cast of actors and scene after scene of quirky fun and it's almost impossible not be hooked on this "could some of this actually be true" story, and you might find yourself laughing a bit as well.
“The Men Who Stare At Goats,” directed by Grant Heslov, stars Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Big Fish) as Bob Wilton, a journalist who goes to Iraq to cover the war after his wife leaves him for his editor. While there he encounters Lyn Cassidy, played by George Clooney (Burn After Reading, Ocean’s Eleven), who claims to be a psychic for the U.S. Army who is on a secret mission. The two travel together through Iraq as Cassidy uses his psychic abilities to send them in the "correct" direction for his mission.
The movie alternates back and forth between the main story and a story of Cassidy's past and how he became a psychic for the Army. Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Iron Man) plays the Army Commander who leads Cassidy and the other psychics. Also playing a large role in Cassidy's past is Larry Hooper, played by Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, The Usual Suspects), who is also a psychic for the Army and becomes a bit of a rival to Cassidy.
The actors and the quirkiness of the story is what makes this film a must see for fans of the dark comedy genre. Both Clooney and Bridges have excelled in this genre before with “Burn After Reading” and “The Big Lebowski” respectively and do not disappoint here. Twists and turns in the plot always seem right around the corner, and while they happen less than would be desired, when they do happen they happen with authority and impeccable timing. Oh, and there’s even an “intense” scene with the psychic Cassidy taking on a goat in a staring contest. What more could you want?
One thing that is on-going in the film that grows old quickly is the code name for the Army psychics, Jedi warriors. It almost feels as if the joke was included due to McGregor’s involvement in the film, and there’s just something strange about McGregor playing a character who has no idea what a Jedi warrior is (he played Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars films).
Overall, however, this movie delivers exactly what someone interested in going to see it would expect going in. Good character acting, funny scenes, and hilarious dialogue. The run-time of 94 minutes is close to perfect to keep people interested in the story, and will even seem too short for those who get really drawn into it. Exactly how much of this story is true can be hard to figure, but you’ll be yearning to find out.
4 out of 5 stars.