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The Men Who Stare at Goats

Where to Watch The Men Who Stare at Goats

R
2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats is a British-American war spoof comedy film that was released in 2009. Directed by Grant Heslov and screen-written by Peter Straughan, the film's surprising flavor of humor is based on Jon Ronson's 2004 book of the same name, which chronicles the U.S. military's exploration into paranormal and psychological techniques. The bombastic ensemble of stars includes Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, who each add their own versatility and charisma to the film's quirky characters.

Ewan McGregor stars as Bob Wilton, a down-and-out newspaper reporter who finds himself on an unexpected journey after his wife leaves him for his one-armed editor. In his effort to prove his manhood, he ventures into Iraq to cover the war. There, he crosses paths with Lyn Cassady, portrayed brilliantly by George Clooney.

Lyn is considered special among American soldiers because he's a member of the peculiar New Earth Army, a secret U.S. Military unit that was designed to harness paranormal abilities to end wars and save lives. The New Earth Army is the brainchild of Bill Django, played by a dreadlocked and ebullient Jeff Bridges, who takes a trippy journey of self-discovery and returns as a New-Age prophet with a manifesto to create "warrior monks".

The film progressively becomes more absurd as Lyn takes the very green and bewildered Bob on a journey through the deserts of Iraq, on a mission that is, in reality, Lyn's personal quest. It’s a bizarre adventure filled with unpredictability, wit, and bewildering military actions that carry a hilarious satirical punch against the backdrop of war. Despite the zany antics of the characters and their spiritual journey, the film never shies away from keeping the grim perspective of war.

The title of the movie refers to one of the eccentric techniques developed by the New Earth Army to eliminate the enemy by simply staring at them, with the hope that they could harness their minds to kill a goat merely through intense concentration. The moments where the soldiers attempt to demonstrate their supposed psychic abilities prove to be some of the film’s standout comedic beats.

The performances are top-notch throughout. Clooney showcases his flair for comedy, managing to keep his character grounded and engaging, even amid the absurdity of his circumstances. McGregor is superb, displaying a wide range of emotion as the desperate, yet earnest, Bob Wilton. His journey from a disheartened reporter to an eager participant in the field captures the audience's attention, as he serves as the perfect foil to Clooney’s eccentric Lyn Cassady. Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, playing mentor and rival officers in the New Earth Army, respectively, deliver performances imbued with humor and peculiarities that fittingly suit the film's tone.

The quirkiness of the narrative is well served by the directors and the ensemble cast, making for an unusual and amusing comedy that poses interesting philosophical questions about the use and abuse of psychic potential in warfare. The movie doesn't aim just to entertain; it also invites its viewers to ponder on how the military uses various means, no matter how outlandish, to achieve its ends.

The cinematography captures the expansiveness of the Iraqi desert and contrasts it against the confining and sterile military offices, matching the film's juxtaposition of the rigid military establishment against the free-thinking New Earth Army. The film's soundtrack also stands out, reinforcing the story's unpredictable tone and pace.

The Men Who Stare at Goats is a unique war comedy, filled with exceptional performances and a memorable plotline. It is an offbeat, stylish, and entertaining film that merges the seriousness of war with unexpected twists of humor and charm. The absurdity of the premise is contrived in such a way that it not only induces a fair amount of laughter but also drives home a critical satire of the war machine. For those who appreciate unconventional, thought-provoking comedy, this film will be a delightful revelation.

The Men Who Stare at Goats is a Comedy, War movie released in 2009. It has a runtime of 90 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 54.

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6.2/10
54/100
Director
Grant Heslov
Stars
George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey
Genres
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