The Good Shepherd (2006)
Director: Robert De Niro
Being a spy has been depicted several ways in the history of cinema. There’s your classic womanizing, cigarette smoking, martini sipping suave playboy type spy played by Sean Connery as James Bond (and countless others), or the no nonsense asskicking assassin played by Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. There’s even the MacGyver like spy antics of Jeffrey Donavon on Burn Notice, and I could go on, but I think “The Good Sheperd” probably has it down the most accurately, and most depressingly. Being an international spy would be a very lonely, and often times, very boring kind of job. The trouble is, in showing that harsh reality, it also makes for a very boring and drawn out movie. Damon is given very little to do here. His character is so reserved and withdrawn that one feels the need to prod him occasionally to make sure he’s still breathing. Like Clint Eastwood’s equally promising, and equally disappointing biopic on J. Edgar Hoover this movie suffers from the non-linear approach to its story. I’m all for non-linear storytelling when it works, when it doesn’t work however, the result is just one big tedious mess, which was basically what we got here. Even an interesting against type cameo appearance of Joe Pesci, and a sex scene with Angelina Jolie could not lift my eyelids from there half closed position. I’m sure this movie was made with the best of intentions, and the subject matter is indeed quite fascinating, but the execution here went as badly as that Bay of Pigs fiasco depicted in this film. I have not seen it but I heard for a good movie about what it is actually like to be a spy, “Tinkor, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is quite spot on. I wished I had watched that movie instead.