Saturday, 23 June 2012

Moneyball Blu Ray Review

Moneyball: Blu Ray Review

Released by Sony Home Entertainment
Rating: M

Brad Pitt stars in this latest film about baseball.

But before you roll your eyes and get out your sports movie cliché bingo card for the inevitable cinematic moments (locker room chat, slow mo shots etc), this is one which is actually a good solid watch. Although a few of those clichés are present and correct, in case you’re worried.

It’s 2001 and Pitt stars as Billy Beane, failed former baseball prodigy and now general manager at the Oakland Athletics team.

When another loss to the New York Yankees sinks the team, Beane’s forced to recruit some new players as his big hitters are being poached by other major league teams.

Sick of being, as he terms it, "an organ donor" for the other sides, Beane ends up meeting Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, in a watchably restrained and quiet performance) who believes major players are overpaid, and that there’s a league of underused players who actually perform better when you look at their statistics rather than their showy team mates.

So, with nothing to lose (cliché bingo, anyone?) and despite his advisors disagreeing, Beane tries this strategy for the new season. 

Unsurprisingly, in the face of staunch opposition from everyone, the method doesn’t work out and the Oakland Athletics fare worse than hoped.

Suddenly, Beane and Brand find themselves the outsiders of the game – and facing uncertain futures in the wake of dismal results…

Moneyball features a winning performance from its two leads – and its director also. It doesn’t fall into the usual trappings of a sports film as it’s really about the mentality and statistical mindset of the sport rather than what unfolds out on the pitch (or diamond if you will).

But it’s the turns by Hill and Pitt which make this so watchable; Hill gives a quiet and dialled down performance which makes him feel real rather than a character. Likewise, Pitt has energy and spikiness but he channels that into making Beane feel a flawed and yet rounded character – and in the one scene when he’s negotiating three contracts on three different phones, you find out everything you need to know about this character.

At the end of the day, while Moneyball is your traditional underdog sports film in many ways, it’s probably one of the more intelligent offerings into the genre.

Extras: Deleted scenes, blooper reel, behind the scenes piece, adapting the film, drafting the team


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