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Good Shepherd reviews
  • A very positive review of The Good Shepherd is below, from the blog of the Boston Herald's critic Stephen Schaefer, who also looks ahead to the likely mixed response from other critics. There are some minor spoilers (but note the film is not three hours in length but two hours 40 minutes).

    Robert De Niro’s hugely ambitious history of the C.I.A., "The Good Shepherd," is one of the last movies to be unveiled for the year-end awards races. At three hours with a cast led by Matt Damon as the ultimate colorless C.I.A. operative and Angelina Jolie as his frustrated, disillusioned wife, "Good Shepherd" will undoubtedly divide people.

    But this years-in-coming project, which at one point was to be a Francis Ford Coppola film and then was taken over by De Niro with John Frankenheimer’s death, has a masterful ease. Somber, melancholy and spanning decades as it follows Damon’s self-effacing, buttoned-up operative, a paranoid intellectual never seen without glasses, suit, tie, trench coat and grim visage, "The Good Shepherd" travels back from the debacle that was the C.I.A.’s Bay of Pigs failure, the deadly plan to retake Cuba from Castro in April 1961 under John F. Kennedy, to 1939 when Damon’s Yalie is recruited as a spy and becomes during WWII in England a key figure in America’s first overseas spy operation, the O.S.S.

    After the war, the O.S.S. becomes the C.I.A. As the Cold War with Russia looms, Damon’s homelife with unhappy wife and fearful son disintegrates. "Good Shepherd" connects the reality of spying and keeping secrets with the contradiction of having any kind of a happy relationship. The tragic choice here is stated simply: Do you choose your country or your family? De Niro manages a succession of splendid set pieces, including a fascist-style London street assassination that made me think of HBO’s "Rome," two very different interrogations of Russian defectors, the second spiked with LSD, and the deconstruction and examination of a Russian-provided black-and-white amateur film that leads Damon to the Belgian Congo and awful personal realizations.

    As an Oscar candidate, "Good Shepherd" is not going to win any acting nominations despite a supporting cast that includes Michael Gambon, Alec Baldwin, an excellent Tammy Blanchard as Damon’s first love, and Jolie. You don’t win Best Actor Oscar nominations by playing faceless operatives who never show emotion, so Damon is out of the running as well. "Good Shepherd" rates as a longshot for a Best Picture slot, as does De Niro for Best Director and Eric Roth for Best Screenplay. Those stakes depend primarily on critics’ reviews and audience reception.

    Thoughtful, intelligent and ambitious "Good Shepherd" easily ranks as among the year’s riskiest and, for me, most rewarding pictures.

  • A major stills update from The Good Shepherd is here, and also available on the official website, which now appears complete. Two of the new photos are below (click to maximise).

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

  • A Bourne Ultimatum update from composer John Powell here:

    [For 'Bourne Ultimatum'] I have no idea until I see a script at the very least, which I haven't yet. I've been brought on to do it, but I won’t really get into it just yet.

    I don't know, it will be interesting to see! I don't even know the story at the moment, but I know it picks up in New York where the second film left off, but we'll see. The music will basically be designed to hopefully take us to the same places the film does.
  • 4 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 8th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
    That is the best written review of a film I've ever read. Informative, intelligent and thoughtful it covers the basics of the film without giving anything away. Thanks for finding and posting it. We've been watching Bleak House this week and Gillian Anderson's role as Lady Dedlock feels similar to Matt's role. Throughout she has to portray an emotionally retarded woman and nothing can show on her face. The series was praised but she was often criticised by reviewers as being boring or dull, I thought she played it beautifully and had the most difficult task of all the many actors involved as she had nothing to work with. Matt is a more than good enough an actor to pull this role off but I think most reviewers and the Oscars themselves will overlook it and reward Leonardo Di Caprio's more overt roles in either the Departed or Blood Diamond. I'm really looking forward to seeing it when it opens here in January.

    On a completely unrelated subject and feel free to reprimand me for posting here but just had to mention that my neighbourhood was hit by a tornado yesterday. A Tornado? In north-west London, a couple of miles from where I live. Still can't believe it!! MP
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 9th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
    Couldn't believe the tornado reports when I saw them online. Glad you're OK, and that it wasn't closer to your area.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 8th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
    thanks for all the updates, its sad that they said matt won't even be nominated for best actor. Wasn't heath ledger nominated and he didn't show much emotion. oh well, we will see.

    Thanks for having the calendar at the top, its really helpful.

    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 9th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC) (Link)

    Good Shepherd Advance Screening


    Tribeca is having an advance screening of The Good Shepherd on Dec. 12, in NYC.

    More info and entry form here:

    4 comments or Leave a comment