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Showing 1-10 of 275 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 543 reviews
on September 28, 2015
The CIA had planned an invasion of Cuba using exile forces (housed in Florida) during the Eisenhower Administration. Then Kennedy became president and he believed if the dictator Castro remained in power, communism would spread to other Western Hemisphere nations. From erroneous intelligence, it was thought the invasion would spark a wider uprising or revolt to overthrow the communist regime. So on April 16, 1961, arriving in seven ships, the small exile army of nearly 16 hundred landed on the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Castro was ready. It was as if he had prior knowledge of the attack. Castro's vastly superior forces killed 114 rebels and quickly captured 12 hundred. Kennedy prohibited American involvement, restricted bombing operations, and refused to authorize air cover for the invasion, because he feared Soviet Premier Khrushchev would retaliate with a counter move against West Berlin. Upon hearing the news of the disastrous failure, Kennedy was furious and fulminated that he would, "... shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter [them] to the winds." He fired Allen Dulles and two other top officials (Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell) and all CIA overseas personnel was put under State Department control. Kennedy was outraged, understandably, because it made his new administration and the U.S. look inept and imperialistic. The story begins in 1939 when Edward (Matt Damon) was attending Yale University. He met Laura, also a student, whom he would have married if Clover Russell (Angelina Jolie) hadn't interjected herself into his life by seducing him and becoming pregnant. How could he refuse her? She was much more attractive, but you have to feel for Laura, and sadly Edward would have been far happier with Laura (as we see later in the movie). Clover manipulated Edward to please her brother, John Russell Jr., and father, John Russell Sr., a powerful, influential senator. The Russell family had close ties with the establishment (Skull and Bones fraternal organization). The concept of a CIA was in a nascent stage, and someone was needed, with no better credentials than Edward's, to lead the organization. Their plans for Edward came to fruition. In other words, and most irksome, he was railroaded. For the CIA, Edward's role became tantamount to that of J. Edgar Hoover with the FBI. A central focus of the film is on a tape recorded exchange of information about the planned Cuban invasion before it happened between a white man and a black woman. Information was provided that only a CIA operative could have known. Edward, third in the chain of command with the CIA, was connecting the dots and conducting the investigation of this tape recording. A plethora of clues had been gathered from this recording and also from a surveillance video. Forensic evidence had narrowed the search to a specific location and possible identity of the spy who committed this treasonous act. At the beginning of the movie, all CIA agents were suspect, even Edward. The tension and paranoia and the ponderous toll it was taking on the intelligence officers was vividly portrayed. You get a clear sense of the methodical and meticulous planning involved and the interwoven connectedness of the CIA and KGB. This becomes apparent when Edward's son, also a CIA agent, was entrapped in a relationship with a female KGB spymaster for the purpose of blackmailing Edward. A cunning, Angelina, dazzled with a performance that made this very remarkable film that much better. It's a masterpiece and top ten favorite!
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on August 27, 2017
The Good Shepherd is the story of a father and a son. Set against the backdrop of intelligence machinations of the US, with the OSS
and then the birth of the CIA. You could reverse the image, and say it is a film about the CIA, with a father and son story in the background.

Edward Wilson goes to Yale with the trauma of his father's death in his head, and a promising future ahead of him. He is from the ruling class,
as the film shows. Edward is a good student, who then accepts a recruitment from the Yale secret society Skull And Bones.

What the film is good at, is showing the stultifying atmosphere of America during a time of war. You would not want to be born into
the privilege Edward has, if it means to be living like him, as a sensitive man.

Edward is not a likable character, he is too passive. The only thing that is good about him is his patriotism.

It's hard to write a review without giving up the story. So I will stop here. If you do not know intelligence history, then you should watch
this film which seamlessly melds it with the lives of the main characters.
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on May 6, 2017
It was an excellent movie that traces the ascent of an ivy-league educated man from his early days in the OSS to the CIA. He was engaged primarily in counter-espionage against Soviet spies. When a Soviet defector comes to the CIA our man has to determine the bona fides of the walk-in defector. Is he really who he says he is or a double-agent working for the Soviets. The movie also illustrates the cold-blooded harshness and danger of our man’s job and its psychological impact on his wife and son.
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on July 30, 2014
The early history of the CIA is fascinating as viewed through the prism of one man's life. Matt Damon plays a cerebral and reserved Ivy-Leaguer, possessing very high integrity and powers of observation. Despite his brilliance, Damon's character is naive about the world of counterintelligence and the ways of women, but learns quickly (on both counts) as WWII sees him transferred to England, to work counterintelligence, for the duration of the war and then post war cases around the world. He meets his Soviet nemesis, Ulysses, with whom he and his CIA team will match wits in global espionage as his personal and professional lives become inter-twined despite his best efforts to keep them clinically separate. Robert De Niro has essentially a cameo role and Angelina Jolie plays Damon's not-by-choice-but-by-pregnancy wife, who pays life-long consequences for her youthful reckless behavior. Actual historical events woven into the fabric of this story make it riveting!
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on June 27, 2017
One excellent Spy movie! Directed by Robert De Niro, with an all-star cast. If you like thriller movies? You'll love this one, I do! It's 'spellbinding.' Worth watching.. The movie is for adults, who have the mental capacity to understand it. I recommend you see it twice. So that you can see, what you missed, the first time..
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on October 8, 2015
The story is well written and if you like government stories, you will enjoy this one Matt Damon is excellent as the main character and Robert De Niro is excellent as usual as his sort of mentor. A young Angelina Jolie is wonderful to see her at the beginning of her career and she portrays the character of the wife in a sympathetic and caring manner. It keeps you glued to the disc as it has many twists and turns and you will be gooled right up to the end with the mystery running through the whole movie. Good purchase and blu-ray is beautiful.
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After reading a new biography of Robert De Niro, I was anxious to re-view De Niro 's directorial debut, 'The Good Shepherd'. It is as I had first thought a first rate film. However, for those not entrenched in the 'spy' folklore, it may not be as exciting. Indeed.

Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, one of the first CIA operatives, and the story is a takeoff of a real person. We meet Edward as the Bay Of Pigs debacle is taking place. We then move back to Edward's time at Yale, his initiation to a secret club for WASPS. This leads him to the secret service life in England during the War. Before he leaves Yale, he meets Angelina Jolie,who he impregnates, marries, leaves fir 6 years while he is secreting in England. They have the child, a boy, who Edward meets when Jr is 6. The marriage is not good, strangers in the night, so to speak.

Edward moves into the CIA at the behest of the big guy who has the ears of Washington. Life becomes work all the time. Not much time for the boy. Russian spies and secrets. This is a fabulous look at the CIA and the secret agent man. The ins and outs, the secrets. Matt Damon is superb as the gaunt, humorless Edward Wilson. All work and no play makes a dull boy. I wish the film had become a hit, but it is almost three hours long, too dull for most people. I loved it.

Recommended. prisrob 09-16-14
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on May 29, 2015
Good movie, though a bit slow at times, the acting is average and Angelina Jolie is woefully cast as the female lead... way too much sex appeal for the part.... and then Matt Damon is too energetic to be subdued as Wilson.... but I did enjoy the film's presumptions on historical events....
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on January 2, 2017
The acting is largely very good, but Billy Crudup's strained, nearly-prissy British accent greatly detracted from his performance, so his role was a matter of miscasting. I really like him as an actor, but he simply did not pull this one off. Matt Damon's character is too one-note, and he starts coming across as a heartless machine rather than a human being with hidden depths. While there are interesting events, there is so much cloak-and-dagger that the movie ultimately becomes more monotonous than thrilling.
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on March 22, 2017
Excellent DVD. I finally got around to viewing this movie and all I can say is this is a great move. Robert DiNiro was the Director I think he did a tremendous job, can't wait for his next movie. Matt Damon and Angie Jolie were awesome.
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