The Men Who Stare at Goats
Produced by Smoke House and BBC Films
Directed by Grant Heslov
Screenplay by Peter Straughan from the book by Jon Ronson
Distributed by Overture Films
I’ll say this for The Men Who Stare at Goats, the delightful new film from first-time director Grant Heslov and his producing partner, George Clooney: It wastes no time getting to the point. It opens with a close-up of the wondrously named Brigadier General Hopgood (Stephen Lang) glaring ferociously at the wall across from his desk, his sweat-swathed face apoplectically red. Is he about to have an aneurysm, or will he blow his brains out? Neither. Stepping from behind his military-neat in-box, he abruptly sprints toward the wall. After making loud contact with said wall, he falls to the floor, where he lies silent for a few disconsolate moments. You see, he was sure his body would slip through the functional cinder block as would a sylph’s through silk brocade.
By the time the film ends another man will attempt the same feat, and the outcome either will or will not confirm whatever it is this evanescently gossamer narrative has on its mind. I don’t mean to suggest the movie is fey, but it does seem incapable of supporting a definite thought, let alone a theme. And that is its charm.