Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd (2006)

Matt Damon and Robert De Niro (who also directs) star in this partially fact-based drama that examines the early history of the CIA as seen through the eyes of a dedicated agent. An upstanding, sharp-minded Yale student, Edward Wilson (Damon) is recruited to work for the fledgling CIA during World War II. Though loyal to his country, Wilson begins to feel the job eroding his ideals, filling him with distrust and destroying his personal life.
My Two Cents: Its intricately woven web of deceit and deception is as compelling as it is long; Damon turns in yet another stellar performance under Deniro's Scorsese-esque direction.

NetFlix Rank: Really Liked It
IMDB Rank: 8/10

Further thoughts:

Aside from its running time, I can't fathom why this film earned a 56% rotten rating. Maybe it helps to know a little bit about the life and downward spiral of James Jesus Angleton, on whom Damon's character was based. I definitely recommend reading up on him for further insight into the film's events.

Shepherd plays out along converging timelines, which help to accentuate the ambiguous nature of foreign intelligence. We see the end result -- successes and failures -- before we see how they transpired. Damon's character alternates between patriotism, paranoia, skpeticism and regret, and he does so convincingly (award-worthy, even).

What we end up with is a thorough depiction of one fascinating historical era.


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