5
Add review

The Good Shepherd

At one point in De Niro’s belated second directorial outing, CIA hotshot Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) tells old flame Laura (Tammy Blanchard) that his life, since leaving her for upper-crust beauty Clover (Angelina Jolie) years ago, has been full of surprises. For him, maybe, but not to anyone familiar with the ‘serious’ spy movie à la le Carré. As the often turgid tale of one man’s hugely successful but (inevitably) emotionally costly career lumbers along, all the conventions are feebly trotted out: childhood trauma; preppy connections made at Yale (complete with gay lit prof); shady but seductive approaches made by neatly raincoated men whispering purply allusive verbiage of the ‘crows fly at midnight’ variety; increasingly hard demands made on family life by patriotic duty; the widening of professional horizons from WW2 OSS activities to the imperialist global policies of the Cold War; and the predictably gradual soul-freezing consequences of a life in which trust is impossible.

Trouble is, despite one draggy foray into Gilbert and Sullivan, Wilson, as played by Damon, never had much soul in the first place. When Sgt Ray Brocco (John Turturro) arrives to serve as his assistant, he’s told the boss is a man with no discernible sense of humour – true also of this portentous, ponderous film, which seems to equate art and substance with solemnity and slow tempo; even an offscreen children’s rendition of ‘Michael, Row the Boat Ashore’ (the movie’s big on period detail) is largo. The film’s watchable enough if you’re indulgent of its flaws, satisfied by star turns (William Hurt, Michael Gambon, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crudup, Joe Pesci and John Sessions, not to mention the director’s own stale cameo), and happy ticking off clichés, but at 167 minutes it does tax the patience.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday February 23 2007
Duration: 167 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert De Niro
Screenwriter: Eric Roth
Cast: Matt Damon
Angelina Jolie
Alec Baldwin
Tammy Blanchard
Billy Crudup
Robert De Niro
Keir Dullea
Martina Gedeck
William Hurt
Timothy Hutton
Lee Pace
Eddie Redmayne
John Sessions
Oleg Stefan
John Turturro

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|5
1 person listening
James

The best movie I have seen in several years although i had to watch it severaal times to really appreciate it,. I wish the other reviewers would do likewise. A great music score to boot and a great cast. Who was the Russian counterpart to Edward Wilson? I would love to see more of his quality of actors. Why can't Hollywood produce more high quality fims like this? Too brainy for most I suppose.

James

The best movie I have seen in several years although i had to watch it severaal times to really appreciate it,. I wish the other reviewers would do likewise. A great music score to boot and a great cast. Who was the Russian counterpart to Edward Wilson? I would love to see more of his quality of actors. Why can't Hollywood produce more high quality fims like this? Too brainy for most I suppose.

H Petal

Get past the close mouthed dialogue , and its a good window of the murky spy world of the 50's and 60's... trust truly was a rare commodity between nations.. and peoples!

H Petal

Get past the close mouthed dialogue , and its a good window of the murky spy world of the 50's and 60's... trust truly was a rare commodity between nations.. and peoples!