Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Director: Bennett Miller
Running Time: 133 mins
Moneyball is an American film about the true story of Billy Beane, managing director of the Oakland A’s baseball team, who transformed baseball with an analytical approach in order to take his middling team to glory.
I know nothing about baseball. In fact, less than nothing. Except that there’s no crying in baseball. Anyway, even for a total outsider to the sport like myself, Moneyball is a properly riveting watch, blending both the excitement and passion of baseball with a gripping story of going your own way and taking on the established order.
Complete with stunningly measured performances across the board, particularly from Brad Pitt in the lead role, Moneyball is a truly wonderful watch, and a film that’s somehow as enthralling to watch as it is genuinely calming.
Why would a movie about statistics-driven baseball ever be calming? Well, there are two main reasons: the film’s performances, and its down-to-earth style.
This isn’t a melodramatic sports drama where it’s all about winning or losing. Instead, this is a much more personal film that uses the context of sports to great effect, delivering excitement in the form of on-field action, and allowing that to play into the drama revolving around the main characters.
At the centre of the story is Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, played brilliantly by Brad Pitt. In yet another one of Pitt’s level-headed, calm performances, he evokes enthralling drama in Beane’s character, as a determined, passionate man who believes in an unorthodox system to get past the established order of his game.
Complete with a captivating back story and strong relationships with his co-stars, namely Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brad Pitt is able to make Billy Beane a truly riveting lead throughout, and the anchor for a film that you might fear is only about baseball.
However, because Moneyball leads with its characters and a human story at its centre, it’s a film that’s fully accessible to everyone, no matter their knowledge of the sport. There are certainly technical terms that die-hards are going to appreciate more, but the movie never leaves the rest of its audience behind, and that goes a long way to making Moneyball such an enthralling watch.
Bolstered by a patient pace and a gorgeous, therapeutic musical score, Moneyball is a genuinely calming watch alongside its gripping sports and personal drama. Thanks to strong writing and certainly strong direction from Bennett Miller, the film is an enthralling one from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving Moneyball a 7.7 overall.