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Jan 3, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: The Good Shepherd

What happens when you take a six hour movie and cram it into two and a half hours?

The Good Shepherd

Telling what seems like six stories at the same time (among them: the birth of the CIA, a father-son drama, a Spy Game-like thriller and a relationship drama), The Good Shepherd is what happens when a good premise (and cast) meet a bad editor (or director - it's hard to know who exactly is to blame). Odds are you'll be left with more questions than answers in what shouldn't really be a head-scratching film.

Though star Matt Damon has surrounded himself with pedigree names (director Robert DeNiro, costars Angelina Jolie, William Hurt and DeNiro again, just to name a few), you can't help but feel he is miscast (as is Jolie, but I'll get to that) in a role that calls on him to be a mute who looks somewhat stern and/or nervous throughout the film. Branching out of the "mile-a-minute-smart-aleck" role won't hurt Damon in the long run, but totally ignoring his strengths may. Good actor that he is, he still pulls you into his role (even as an anti-hero at times - all the more impressive), but you'll be left wanting more.

One of the larger errors was the casting and/or usage of Jolie. In a part screaming out for a lesser-known, lesser-established actress, Jolie is completely wasted in her wet blanket role. All the more odd is the strong start to her character, as she takes over the film (and Damon) momentarily, only to be made a whining ninny for the remainder.

73 out of 100

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