Release Year: 2011
Director: Bennett Miller
Writers: Steven Zaillian (screenplay), Aaron Zorkin (screenplay), Stan Chervin (story), Michael Lewis (based on his 2003 non-fcition book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop, Reed Diamond, Brent Jennings, Ken Medlock, Tammy Blanchard, Jack McGee, Vyto Ruginis, Nick Searcy, Glenn Morshower
Rating: Nominated for 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing. Nominated for 4 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), Best Screenplay.
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), general manager of the major league baseball team Oakland As attempts to assemble a new team on a lean budget using computer-generated analysis, a method that could change the game it succesful.
For outsiders, baseball is hardly the most exciting sport in the world and the plot description above hardly helps, but thanks to an interesting script and good performances, Moneyball is an interesting film. It isn’t your typical sports film in which the season is only the line and everything is resolves in a breathtaking final game. In fact, you don’t need to understand baseball at all to enjoy the film. The central theme is that of rethinking established methods. A key player has to be replaced with a limited budget and the old school league goes about their business trying to solve the problem the way they always have. But Pitt’s Beane has met a young mathematician (Jonah Hill) who has opened his eyes to a new way of thinking about the game. It becomes a struggle between the new guard and the old guard, represented by Hoffman’s seasoned coach. Pitt (The Big Short, 2015) is solid and Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013) is very good in the role that first opened our eyes to the dramatic side of the young actor’s talent. Aaron Zorkin’s contribution to the script is clear and it has excellent moments, especially in the first two thirds of the film. However, there is something about Miller’s (Foxcatcher, 2014) style of direction that I find mildly off-putting. No matter how good the story or the actors (and he always brings the best out in his cast), his films always feel cold and somehow distant. To some this might be a plus but in a film about a sport as romanticised as baseball, it is hardly a strength. The result is a good film with a weak ending which falls short of greatness.
Since there was no money to shoot in all the stadiums the Oakland Athletics visited, Dodger Stadium was dressed up as eight different ballparks.
Picture Copyright: Sony Pictures