Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Director: Bennett Miller
Music: Mychael Danna
Cinematography: Wally Pfister
Philip Seymour Hoffman
I am literally have no any idea about baseball and cannot extract any gaiety or thrill from watching it (actually I am very much sport-immune). So the challenge of the film lies in the fact that whether or not it will be able to win over more spectators who are usually out of the range of the sport genre, just like two years ago THE BLINDSIDE (2009) did (I know nothing about American football either but I emphatically enjoyed the film).
Taking Pitt’s role Billy Beane’s words said to his assistant Peter Brand (career-best performance from Jonah Hill) in the film, “he does not want to have any personal entanglement with any of his players, especially no emotion attached” (not literally though) , the film also detaches from its audience by throwing mathematic formulae and analytic statistics at the audience and imposes a condescending stance to water down the scientific theory so as to be accepted by outsiders like me. Also the narrative process is no less median than other sport biopics (namely, INVICTUS 2009), an over-abused underdog victory with a middle-of-the-road taste.
The cast, I cannot deny it may be Pitt’s best work so far (leaving THE TREE OF LIFE aside), but one hindrance is his subdued swagger almost pervasive in almost every film he stars and I have watched, which could be fitting in FIGHT CLUB 1999 or TWELVE MONKEYS 1995, even for OCEAN’S ELEVEN series, but in a biographic film, Mr. Jolie is not an acting chameleon like Meryl Streep, and he should drink the so-called “make-up potion” to camouflage himself behind his role he plays. Additionally among the small satellites revolving around Pitt, Jonah Hill is seriously rooting for his first Oscar nomination (congratulations on his dual nominations in both SAG and Golden Globe, the same to Pitt and the film has nailed 4 Golden Globe nominations in toto, BEST MOTION PICTURE-DRAMA and BEST SCREENPLAY). Another VIP star Philip Seymour Hoffman has nothing to sprawl out in his funny uniform.
Oscar nominated director Bennett Miller (CAPOTE 2005) may fall short of strong buzz to get himself into Oscar’s consideration, however, the film is exquisitely made and the lengthy spiels which I shudder at may fare pretty well as the crowd-pleaser for those interlacing with both film and baseball domains.