Directed by Bennett Miller, written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. MoneyBall is another successful adaptation from book to screen which seems to have been the key to success for these last couple of years, MoneyBall is no different.
The film looks at Billy Bean who is the general manager of the Oakland A’s Baseball team struggling to find success against more expensive teams. Brad Pitt both produced this piece and stars in it as Billy Bean.
Brad Pitt had an upward battle to make this film come to life, the film is based on a statistics novel by Michael Lewis which is titled with the same name. The story follows Billy Bean as he realises that the strategies and gameplay he is using are not producing the results he wants and needs. He decides to go back to the very basics of the game and work his way up. At this point he meets Peter Brand who is currently working for another team and who is spotted by Billy as thinking the same ideals.
As a pair look at not who looks good, not who has the best looking girlfriend and who will attract the fans but at each individual players numbers.
Yes this film looks largely at statistics of the players and why they were other looked by other teams so maths does become a crucial element to the story. However do not let this put you off, this film has character, influence and power seen in few sports films. It’s an incredibly compelling story which is easy to see why Pitt fought so hard to get it made.
As far as Oscar attention goes this film deserves everything it receives, my vote for best film tonight will go with MoneyBall.
This does seem to have been an excellent year for Brad Pitt with tree of life and Moneyball. His performance in MoneyBall is outstanding, its wrong to say it looks effortless as it implies no work has been done, however Pitt just becomes Billy Bean and its incredible to watch. The ease in which he plays some scenes, particularly when his team is playing and he sits in another room to occasionally listen. It’s an absolute joy and pleasure to sit down and watch Pitt in this, for me looking at the Oscars tonight there are only two clear winners for best actor.
Jonah Hill deliveries what is simply put the best performance of his career so far. Showing that not only can he produce a comedic performance as we have seen, but a role in a serious light. The chemistry he has with Pitt is excellent and had that not worked then the film would not have worked as it’s about these two working together.
It must not be forgotten of course of the performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman who, though he has a small part, is excellent as always.
The only two reservations I have about this film in the whole are, firstly it does not quite work out or make sense that Billy Bean’s wife would choice to divorce him and then move on with her new husband after seeing the man. Admittedly Billy Bean does not look like Brad Pitt in real life so its more understandable but watching scene where they are all say together in the same room, its not particularly realistic and it struggled a tad with it from a film point of view.
Now one thing I would like for those of you reading this who have seen this, I would like you to comment on how you felt about the effect of the song at the end which Billy Bean’s daughter sings. It’s hard to note without giving the plot away for those who don’t know the story the implications this has on the audience. Certainly for me it was a weird moment and interesting why they had put it there. Please do let me know.
The script is of course excellent as it written by one of mine and many favourite script writers Aaron Sorkin, so no need to worry there.
The effects of the sounds and smothering the sounds were very clever way of producing an effect. In fact one scene which stuck through my head because of the technique that was used and because of Pitt performance is the scene when its silence except for that one beautiful sound of the ball being his by the bat and Pitt’s reaction is perfect.
OVERALL**** Anyone a fan of sporting films or of Pitt, Hill or Hoffman will see film making at its finest and a very worthy choice of an oscar all round.