Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Moneyball' no oddball film, a tepid thriller that fails to impress

This is the American season of sorts where Hollywood is trying its bit to remind the country that there are some core American values to cherish and nourish at a time when the economy is down and the country is in a bitter, gloomy mood. "Mondeyball"which tells the story of baseball manager Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) trying to beat big money teams to build a winning squad struggles like a good Hollywood hero and succeeds. The script would not accept anything else.
The film opens on a realistic note of backroom haggling over teams, the money to be paid and cannot be paid and the strategy needed to sustain the Oakland A's. Bean tries to understand how to buy the big, winning players and finds out that the game of bidding for players is played in a different way and it has nothing to do with the game. For a moment one thought that here is a movie that Nita Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay Mallya and Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta must see because it could be a sort of deja vu, where the highs of one-day cricket have nothing to do with the real highs of the game. But no. "Moneyball"does not go that way and does not probe the shenanigans and chicanery of the moneyed lot who dictate the terms of the game.
Director Bennet Miller and producer Pitt are content to tell the predictable story of Billy Bean turning a down-and-out team into a top one with the usual Hollywood hero flourishes and the inane punchlines, barring a few, that Pitt the star manages to pack in.
Though a well-made film it is quite disappointing because the film director, producer and scriptwriter are not man enough to face up to the real challenges of money almost choking the game and how at the end of it all the game and the players win. The film does not do that and that is why it remains a sentimental thriller of the ordinary kind.

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