Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball is perhaps the most difficult film of the year for me to appropriately gauge my own enjoyment of. I know I enjoyed it. I remember laughing, smiling, cheering, feeling completely engaged in the subject matter like it was yesterday. Just what prompted those emotions to rise out from within me remains a bit of a mystery.

I remember the sequences which most tickled my various emotional receptors, but the interconnecting components which built to those sequences are foggy at best. If I had to narrow it down to a single reason, it would be the way Moneyball is designed.

Moneyball relies heavily on an interweaving of plot structures that could be most accurately defined as being part of the beginning or middle of a narrative. This is a technique that co-writer Aaron Sorkin executed to great effect in 2010's Social Network, where once again there was no singular climatic point which the narrative reached out to. Instead both films rely on character building, witty interplay, and audience interest in development of the backdrop device to build the film.

However, Moneyball lacks one of the more crucial aspects of Social Network's success, colorful characters. Outside of Beane (Brad Pitt) and Brand (Jonah Hill), there's not much left for viewers to hold onto. The core group of players which earn themselves the most screen time are generally down played, given a few good scenes, and then moved past. Even in the most crucial moment of one of their careers - and the film's closest thing to a climax - the setup is not wholly capable of meeting the viewer half way on the emotional response.

I suppose the most clear cut word for describing the feeling Moneyball inspires is "almost." From the direction to the acting to the writing, every bit feels like it's almost right where it needs to be. But it is that minute missing component that ultimately ends up weighing down Moneyball's potential. It's enough for two hours, and for many that's enough for all.

Overall Score: 7.00/10

Director: Bennett Miller
Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Story: Stan Chervin
Book: Michael Lewis

3 better thoughts:

Dan O. said...

It may not feel quite like the classic baseball movie others have achieved, but it’s certainly pleasant enough to be enjoyable even by non-sports fan, and features great performances from Hill and Pitt. Good review.

John said...

I really struggled a lot with Hill's character for a ton of reasons. Probably the biggest would be that he was a caricature, a sloppy mockup of exactly what non-baseball fans think that hardcore baseball fans look and act like. It grated on me.

Univarn said...

@Dan Thanks!

@John Interesting because I never got the impression that he was to embody hardcore baseball fans. Rather that he was someone who, through a series of events, came to work in the baseball field and was a very dedicated researcher. Then again I'm not a baseball fan so if that was their goal, it was wholly lost on me.

Even if it was, I can tell you that's not what I think hardcore baseball fans are like. So hows about not trying to lump us all in the same boat as well? :P

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