Categorized | Drama

Moneyball (2011)

Bennett Miller who is famous for taking real life stories as motion pictures has returned to present another real story that concentrates on sports. After Capote he is back again in 2011 bringing Moneyball. Capote depicted the life story of author of the book (in cold war), Mr. Capote. Now he followed the same way to give another real story by using a smart cast. The plot of Moneyball cannot be created or destroyed. It is history and Bennett Miller has reinvented the baseball game. There are only few restricted characters in the movie and he sticks to develop those characters to perfection. Of course the major character is Mr. Pitt.

Moneyball deals about understanding the baseball game and how come managers and board members of one team outwit another. It may be considered as a sort of gamble. Here it is money and players are traded for a higher amount. Like in the movie it is said that wins count, every run counts and not the team. This could be a perfect gamble for getting runs and making wins. The movie opens with Mr. Pitt sitting in an empty stadium and listening to radio about the match progress occurring in some other ground. He does not like the conclusion of the news. He gets an appointment with his boss and he speaks about his ability to recruit new players and make Oakland A’s win. He cares only that and he can do anything to achieve that. He always thinks about giving them the trophy. He gets some bad calls from his foes and still he manages to find a right guy to assist him. He recruits Mr. Hill who is working in a company not mentioned. But we know that he is an economist. He has perfect calculations and Mr. Pitt wants him. In a board discussion Pitt suggests some defective players who have no sort of any track record. The board members reject him.  But he has a nice plan to outwit them. He buys players of his choice and Mr. Hill guides him. He replaces them also. He trades them and gets his best team. With all rejections from front and illegal way and attempt to do this, news break out that it is a nice attempt but it will not work. Let us see how Pitt manages. Moneyball runs for about 130 minutes. The first 45 minutes shows Pitt and his life as a struggling manager. His back story also cuts open shortly. The next forty five shows Pitt doing his trade by buying players and replacing them. Of course there is also a small cute scene in which Pitt shares his time with his daughter (he is divorced). The last forty five takes us to the edge as it shows some great sporting action and records that are broken and also the buzz and tense Pitt feels at his home i.e. his gym room where always he stays and watches in television. Money ball did the best in the last thirty. It gave some great sporting action, some edge of the seat scenes and a smooth surprising climax. The plot has ended but there is a small message in the end displayed as something unique has occurred. This is where Moneyball was different in its ending and proving that it is neither cinematic nor lucky enough to satisfy the rules of baseball. For a while it seemed that movie might look longer than it has. But in all proportions it was perfectly tuned and the plot was moving smoothly. Screenwriting never tried to take a back step. Though it has focused a bit on Pitt’s personal life, it still gives some interest and confidence and this was necessary for character building.

Pitt after his previous The Tree of Life displaying his role as a over caring father, he returns back with a much more challenging character. Of course he retains his role as father of a girl. But he is not over caring for her. He just meets her listens to her music discs and drops her at the airport. This time it is the girl who gives confidence to her father. He shone in every angle and every frame till the credits rolled. Pitt plays Billy Beans a former baseball player who was not able to focus much on getting the shot right. He had no much brighter future in terms of game but as a manager he did an excellent job. He is not only a manager but also a motivator and inspiring persona for other players. He also handles certain scenes with care during delivering the emotions at the right moment. His small role with his daughter as a beloved father is also the best he can do in this. As a terrific trader and gambler he handles all the phone calls at once and convincingly makes them to realize his prize value. His partner Jonah Hill plays Peter Brand an economist who joins as assistant to Billy. He along with Pitt managed to express every detail they are discussing and get the things right. Hill is a cool actor. For example when Billy asks him about the numbers he calculated he says forty seven but it was actually fifty one, saying he did not know why he just spoke a lie. Pitt ‘s reaction to that answer is obvious and with a cheeky smile he emerges as a cool actor. During excitement he does not jump over the top but manages to close all his fingers and say yah!. But Pitt is not in the mood of hitting his hand back.  He takes the role in his own hand and does do a lot better than expected. He expresses the dialogs with ease and carries the role. Philip Seymour Hoffmann plays the coach of Oakland A’s Art Howe. Philip is hard hitting at Pitt throughout the movie. There was no any rumble between them. Of course I found one when Philip tries to fight Pitt. But Pitt backs away by saying the best possible word with which Philip’s inner mind would have been hurt. The players in the movie are having short time to spare and dominate Pitt. But one person Chris Pratt played Scott Haderberg, who tried to outsmart the other players and he in fact is a key person for Pitt’s future.

Sports game especially baseball needs a lot of crowd and some templates displaying their team’s name. They need some good green grass and a long ground to run and some players with good set of managers and a strong coach. The display lights are also needed and the scenario was all established brilliantly. Camera catches the best shots in slow motions and hard hitting sound of bat trebles the inner part of the ear. There are certain long shots of an almost fixed still. For example: Pitt relaxes in the seats of an empty stadium and we get a longer glimpse of him for about 10 seconds at a distance of about 10 meters. CGI as a matter of fact was not there. It is a real story and it needs no graphic work. The best scene of the movie is Pitt trading players and eventually making them to understand his problem as he cannot hold more than limited players.

Bennett Miller wanted to display the real story of baseball game of Oakland Athletics. He brings in freshness to the story with some great on screen performances and smart dialogs. He gets also the game in the last thirty. But still I missed the world cup games. This is not an entertaining movie that looks for money. It is strong positive and smart. The last dialog of the movie says Dad you are a loser. He is not a loser and neither Moneyball is. It is clever paced up and brings in Pitt to get his career best role he can take up and outsmart others. Moneyball is not fun and not popcorn entertainer. It is for those who love baseball and also for those who care for character building and some exceptional performances with a smart script. It hits the bull’s eye.   

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