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Combat - Iraq, Comedy - Adult

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)


Duration 1h 34m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story Loosely based on a book by John Ronson, itself a literary version of a TV documentary.
Director Grant Heslov
Writers/Script Peter Straughan
Starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick

Elevator Pitch: Reporter Bob Wilton, whose wife has left him for his editor, goes to Kuwait in an attempt to get into Iraq during the war against the axis of evil, and while waiting for a visa meets Lyn Cassady who says he is a former psychic soldier. The two drive over the border together where, despite Lyn’s psychic powers, they are captured, imprisoned, blown up and lost in the desert. Lyn tells Bob the story of the New Earth Brigade, the Jedi soldiers and their attempts to stop the hearts of goats by staring at them, and improbably it all comes together at a military camp in the desert.

Content: There is a bit of female nudity as hot tubs are sampled by the soldier investigating the hippy culture, and a bit of drinking and LSD consumption. Much driving about in the desert and a lot of flashbacks to the process by which the psychic soldiers were sanctioned by the military, and the actions of the soldiers, those for the system and those against. There is gunfire, some of it accidental and some under the influence of LSD, and a narration by Ewan McGregor as Bob which is wonderfully entertaining.

A View: I saw this in the cinema when it came out, enjoyed it then, and enjoyed it just as much on viewing it again. I laughed out loud several times, even though I was by myself. There is an event in the film after which the audience in the screen where I first saw it burst into sponaneous applause. So in my view well worth your time and the cost of a download even though the critics did not like it all that much.

Additional Info: Several of the characters in the film are based on real people who were interviewed by John Ronson. The US Army really did have a psychic division – maybe they still do.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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