SYNOPSIS: Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when his is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Despite opposition from the old guard, the media, fans and their own field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane - with the help of a young, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist (Jonah Hill) - develops a roster of misfits…and along the way, forever changes the way the game is played.
For a start, I’m going to go against the flow for this one. “Moneyball” is not exactly a terrific movie despite chocking up 6 nominations in the Academy Award nevertheless it’s not a really bad one either.
Based on a book and written for the screen by Oscar winners Steven Zaillian (American Gangsters) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), A-lister Brad Pitt plays Oakland Athletics’ general manager, Billy Beane who pairs up with a young Yale economics graduate, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to assess players using a never-before-use statistical method based on their on base percentage (OBP). Facing initial objections from the club’s old-school scouts and manager, Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane and Brand’s strategy finally works with the Oakland Athletics winning of 20 consecutive games and also the golden opportunity to be the GM of the Boston Red Sox for Beane.
Marketed as a mainstream sports movie for the masses, “Moneyball” is all about the behind-the-scenes of the world of baseball. Numbers crunching, deep analyzing and plenty of talk and by that it literally means 133 minutes of pure talk. It can be agonizing to most audience whom without doubt has little or no prior knowledge of baseball but then again, if you are keen to listen to some sharp dialogue scribed by Zaillian and Sorkin then you are in the right place. At least for the first half, director Benette Miller (Capote) keeps things interestingly enough. The tabletop meeting between Beane and his old-timers are witty and comical. You didn’t know having a sexy girlfriend can make one a confident fellow until now. The relationship between Beane and his daughter, from an ex-wife and his hiring of the Ivy League theorist, Brand gives insight to a loner who pretty much prefer driving in his truck listening to his FM, working in the gym than attending his team’s matches.
Turning 48 has not dimmed the star of Brad Pitt in fact age has certainly make him a much more charismatic actor than his “Meet Joe Black” era. Despite Pitt turning in a low-key but superb performance and Jonah Hill playing against type and Seymour Hoffman’s incredible presence, “Moneyball” starts becoming dry by the 60 minutes mark with the occasional excitement delivering the goods. All that business dealings and arguments simply get tedious after one act too many and the archival footages did not help either since our national pastime is not baseball.
Even it does delivered a meaningful message of how a group of underdogs can achieve the upper hand without going broke, “Moneyball” is not as accessible as “A League of their Own” or “Bull Durham” touted as one of the best baseball movies ever made yet. It has its fair share of strong points but still, for the general audience do proceeds with caution.
There are 12 minutes worth of Deleted Scenes, most just extension of existing scenes.
Author Michael Lewis, Director Bennett Miller, Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and Billy Beane talk about the baseball scene in Billy Beane: Re-inventing the Game.
Watch how Brad Pitt cracks up in Blooper with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.
Moneyball: Playing the Game is a 19 minutes segment that focus on creating the sets, costumes, cinematography etc.
Colours and images are sharp and detailed while “Moneyball” is not a title to showcase fancy sound effects, dialogue on the other hand, which constitutes a major portion, is incredibly clear.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee