Men Who Stare at Goats

They made a tactical error promoting this movie. They make you think you’re about to become privy to a bizarre, unbelievable conspiracy theory about psychic warfare. What it actually is, is a bizarre semi-engaging story about pseudo-psychic soldiers and their ability, or lack there of, to overwhelm the enemy. It’s not a complete waste of time, but it’s underwhelming.

Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a two-bit reporter for a small Ann Arbor newspaper. When his wife leaves him for his editor, he reacts in the most normal and rational way a man could and heads for the Middle East. There he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a black ops soldier headed to Iraq. Bob became familiar with Lyn’s unique abilities after a particularly odd interview with a local man Gus Lacey (Stephen Root) claimed he and Cassidy were part of an elite military unit that developed telepathic powers.

Lyn confirms the story and proceeds to tell the tale of Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) a forward-thinking colonel who believed soldiers could be trained to fight an enemy with their minds. Meanwhile, a nefarious soldier, Larry Hooper, jealous of Lyn’s ability, sets about destroying the unit from the inside. Lyn tells the tale as he and Bob wander the Iraqi desert in psychic search of the enigmatic ‘mission.’

Probably worth seeing for the cast alone, the film is just OK. Bridges—long ago dubbed by the New York Times as the most under-rated actor in Hollywood—once again turns in an Oscar-worthy performance as a hippie in the military. When will somebody acknowledge that man’s talent? The other often overlooked man in the group is Steven Root—whose IMDB resume includes more than 130 films and guest appearances—and while this is only a cameo, he is great to watch. So again, it’s a great film for watching some great acting, it’s just not great on plot. It's a 6.