Cast: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill
Director: Bennett Miller
The best sports films are the ones that can appeal to people who don't like sports. 'Moneyball', based on a true story, stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the manager of the failing Oakland Athletics baseball team, who is unable to afford star players on his limited financial resources. Beane befriends Jonah Hill's character, Peter Brand, a just-out-of-college stats-wiz who's devised a system of rating players using mathematics. It allows Beane and Brand to build a team of players who are undervalued by everyone else, and therefore available on Oakland's meager budget.
Despite its theme, this is really a film about people rather than baseball. The players are a bunch of underdogs, who just might come together and win the day. Beane, meanwhile, is a worried father, recovering from a failed marriage, and Brand is a nerdy number-cruncher with a passion for the sport. The film's best scenes are the ones in which Beane and Brand's crazy idea ruffles the feathers of the game's old guard, which includes Philip Seymour Hoffman as the team's petulant coach.
'Moneyball' isn't perfect, though. The uneven pacing is a problem, and you never really know what the film is building towards. For viewers unfamiliar with the game, the constant use of baseball jargon and the hard-to-follow statistics conversations, render chunks of this film incomprehensible. Still, there's some crackling dialogue from The Social Network's Aaron Sorkin, and two winning performances from its leads that make this film consistently watchable, despite its bumps. Brad Pitt is charming as Beane, but also plays the character a little weary and weathered. Jonah Hill brings a quiet confidence to the part of Brand, making a big impression in his first dramatic role.
I'm going with three out of five for 'Moneyball'. It's the thinking man's sports film, with more layers than your classic inspirational story.
Rating: 3 / 5
Joshi Kirtibhai, Ahmedabad
Kshitij Gopal, Gurgaon
Rohit Himatsingka, Mumbai
Ketan Gupta, Bangalore
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