The Good Shepherd

Cover Art and Menu: 6/10
If they had done the cover with only the top image and left off Damon, De Niro, and Jolie off of the whole thing it would have been better for me. It’s just that thing where they think they have to cram the famous faces on the front to catch your eye in the store.

Features: 4/10
Deleted Scenes – Hmmm not much in the way of extras, but this set of deleted scenes actually would have had quite an impact on the final movie if they had been left in. A whole other story line was removed, probably for time reasons or redundancy of story elements.

The Movie 10/10:
I’m more of a Bond kind of gal. That is after spending two months of free time recently watching all, ALL, of the Bond movies for the first time. I like the fantasy spy stuff with outrageous stunts and that wild at heart rogue agent who has nothing to lose by dropping off a cliff to chase the one eyed bad guy or leap on a train to catch a scantily clad chick.

More realistic stories that are Hollywood’s interpretation of “real life events” don’t usually do much for me. And then sometimes they do.
The Good Shepherd has it’s own agenda, yea, that’s how it works with film makers and stories about government cover ups and good juicy scandals. However, the politics don’t dominate if you aren’t looking closely enough to care. You will get a whiff of “the good old boys” syndrome in terms of who REALLY runs the US government. It’s eluded to that a fraternal organization similar to the Masons actually controls the workings of our international affairs, wars, and even controls the president. Well, come to think of it, that does sound pretty political, but oh well.

Matt Damon does a good job, no, an excellent job in this film. He’s all grown up and ready to give us his best effort at giving a controlled and yet powerful performance. His character is the head of a secret government agency designed to do some pretty despicable things, and yet he is quite, silent even most of the time when it comes to confrontations and his own personal life.
Speaking of personal life. He gets lucky one night with Jolie and she’s up the cradle without a paddle. His marriage is pretty much non-existent and what we see of him at his job, he’s driven but not ambitious.

At different points in the story we hear the question, “What is your weakness?”, or it’s part of a theme running through the whole thing. After a while you realize that Damon’s character doesn’t do much in the way of getting distracted by anything…except he does like something, women. That seems to be his unlikely worst enemy.
As his son grows he becomes more heavily involved with newer political rivalries and at the heart of the film is his involvement with the Bay of Pigs in Cuba back during the Kennedy administration. The film alleges that along the way there was a leak in intelligence and that’s why the whole thing was such a disaster. Our leading man has to figure out where that leak was and while he does that we flashback through his career and life to get a better understanding of him, his family, and why he would be considered a good shepherd, of sorts.

I really enjoyed this film. It wasn’t a laugh a minute..oh no. It’s got a lot of intense moments, intrigue, drama, and amazing performances from almost everyone, including Jolie. I wasn’t a fan of the dude who played their son, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Damon holds it all together and to be honest I barely noticed Robert De Niro..that’s saying something about our little Matt, he’s all grown up and playing with the big boys now.

Value: 5/10
This would be a great addition to your collection, IF it had any extras to beef up the whole thing. I don’t like that there’s nothing more than deleted scenes..argggh. That does knock down it’s real value to me somewhat, but it’s still an amazing film that you may very well decide to watch again in the future, but even still, some weekend night when you want to dig into a good solid drama, this is the one to rent.

Overall Score 8