Synopsis: Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
There is no way that a movie starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill about the nuances of strategic advantages in baseball based on micro statistical analysis of player ability should make a good movie. Yet in the talented hands of Capote director Bennett Miller and Hollywood heavyweight screenwriters Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian they turn a dry subject into a captivating look at resilience, perseverance and setting the odds.
Based on Michael Lewis’s 2006 book, Moneyball is a docu-drama about Billy Beane (Pitt), who in 2001 was the General Manager of the Oakland Athletic baseball team. The problem? They have no money to compete against the likes of the Yankees. So Bean employs statistician Peter Brand (Hill) with no practical experience of baseball, but a love of the game’s numbers, to identify players who no one else wants, and are undervalued.
Moneyball succeeds as an enjoyable drama because you don’t need to have any knowledge or love of baseball to identify and sympathise with what is Bean is trying to achieve. Everyone loves an underdog, and Beane with his Oakland A’s band of misfits epitomises underdog. Pitt, as the sweary, no bullshit, tobacco chewing Beane, hasn’t been as charismatic in years, having endless fun with Sorkin and Zallian’s fizzling dialogue. Similarly Hill hasn’t been this likeable since 21 Jump Street. Both deserved their accolades.
Bennett Miller has Foxcatcher released this year. Another docu-drama, this time about murder and wrestling. With an all star cast of Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller it could be a sleeper hit.
Conclusion: You don’t have to love, like or even care about baseball to enjoy Moneyball. Just enjoy rooting for the little guy
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Spike Jonze, Stephen Bishop, Reed Diamond