Brad Pitt stars as a mercurial baseball maverick in this enthralling sports drama based on a true story. 4/5 stars
Pitt's Billy Beane, the general manager of the hard-up Oakland A's, is sick of seeing his team of also-rans continually lose out to richer rivals.
Having just lost his three star players to outfits with deeper pockets, he needs a new strategy - and finds it in the unlikely form of Jonah Hill's number-crunching brainiac, whose grasp of the sport's statistics enables Beane to turn the team's fortunes around.
Flying in the face of received baseball wisdom, Beane starts picking players who've been written off or undervalued by the current system, but he struggles to convince the game's old guard of the merits of his new method...
As sporting dramas go, Moneyball is as unconventional as its protagonist, which in this arena counts as a good thing. For a change, the main action takes place not on the baseball field but in the back offices and corridors, where Beane plots his moves and conducts his deals.
Pitt is terrific as the film's complex, driven protagonist, and he and a heavy-hitting supporting cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as the A's stubborn coach, take the film's smart script (co-written by The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin) and knock the ball right out of the park.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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