True baseball drama about Billy Beane's desperate, unorthodox methods as general manager of the Oakland Athletics - the major league's poorest club. Stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. From the director of Capote, based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
Let me say, right off the bat (baseball pun quota filled): your enjoyment of Moneyball will be largely dependent on your interest of the subject matter. This is not to say you need to be a fan of baseball or economics, but you need to be drawn to the idea of two men’s determination to go against the conventions of a financially unbalanced system. Luckily, I was.
It’s a screenwriter’s film, relying mostly on its dialog and performances to pull you through its lengthy running time. Fortunately, both of these elements are stellar. The script changed hands at one point, resulting in a diet-Sorkin feel that’s pretty noticeable, but far from distracting. The cast compliment the writing, with Pitt and Hill nailing every golden line they were handed (and there are plenty of them).
Despite the all-round top-notch performances, I’m still left baffled as to what Jonah Hill did to warrant an Oscar nod. He does just fine as a young hopeful who goes from slightly confused economics graduate to a slightly confident analyst. However, his role is hardly a stretch for him.
Moneyball’s stats-heavy story is told so well that you’re never left feeling like an idiot drowning in jargon, similar to how last year’s Contagion gave a crash course in microbiology without you noticing. Perhaps its greatest achievement is making an MLB ignoramus like me fascinated in fantasy baseball. That’s got to count for something.