In this comedic look at real life events that are almost too bizarre to believe, reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) discovers an experimental top-secret wing of the U.S. military called The New Earth Army, trained to change the ways wars are fought through New Age psychic power. In search of his next big story, Wilton tracks down Lyn Cassady (Academy Award® winner George Clooney), a shadowy figure who claims to be a member of this legion of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers who can read the enemy’s thoughts, pass through walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it.
Hard to define but easy to enjoy, The Men Who Stare at Goats is the preposterous yet more-true-than-not story of a small-town journalist named Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) who, trying to prove himself in Iraq, stumbles upon a man named Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) who claims to be a psychic spy for the U.S. Army. With dazzling cinematic efficiency, the movie bounces back and forth between the origins of the New Earth Army--a squad of American Jedi warriors--and Bob and Lyn wandering through war-torn Iraq, pursuing a mission that turns out to have been assigned by a vision. The movie shifts from giddy comedy to melancholy as a portrait of human pettiness, manifested in military paranoia and corporate greed, unfolds. The ending loses a bit of steam, but most of The Men Who Stare at Goats is a delight--unusual yet satisfying, funny and thoughtful in turns. Jeff Bridges plays--of course--the addled yet charismatic founder of the New Earth Army, while Kevin Spacey plays--of course--the weaselly, manipulative psychic spy who turns what was meant to transform the world for the better into a mechanism for propaganda and worse. Adapted from the bestselling nonfiction book of the same title by British journalist Jon Ronson, The Men Who Stare at Goats niftily balances surface lunacy with serious undercurrents, buoyed by excellent performances from all involved. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from The Men Who Stare At Goats (Click for larger image)