Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill
Directed by Bennett Miller, story by Stan Chervin, based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
IMDB Rating: 7.6
Possibly the best true story sports film ever made, Moneyball is more than just another underdog story.
Moneyball follows ex-baseball prodigy and now Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Pitt), who wants to challenge with the big boys of Major League Baseball but is held back by the lack of money available to him at Oakland. When trying to sign a player for the new season from the Cleveland Indians Beane discovers Peter Brand (Hill), a young economics graduate from Yale who believes he has discovered fundamental floors in how the game is seen and has discovered a new, statistical way to sign cheap match winners. Beane adopts his controversial strategy, and the two are lamented by all of baseball for trying to win baseball on paper. The movie follows their season together at the Athletics.
First of all this is a really good story. It might seem cliché, the old ‘David V Goliath’ story where the little team unexpectedly makes history, but the fact that this is a true story makes Moneyball less fairy-tale and more inspirational. There’s not much you can say about a story that is real and has already happened, but the idea of shaking up a foundation that had sat there unchallenged for all those years is very interesting. It is a film about being open to change, and it just shows that just because it’s been that way for a long time, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right.
The acting performances in this film are very good. As you would expect, Brad Pitt leads the film excellently, performing with confidence and maturity and while I don’t know much about the real person, I am able to believe him as Billy Beane. However, what surprised me more was just how good Jonah Hill was. When you hear the name Jonah Hill you think (or I think) comedy, thanks to films like Superbad and the Jump Street franchise. In this film he plays quiet statistician Peter Brand, a very different role than the ones he is most known for, but he performs it with such control and skill that it is really impressive. There’s still the odd remark by him that is funny too, which is a nice touch! There’s also small roles for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and the now well established Chris Pratt, who both put in good performances – maybe less so Pratt, who is perhaps a bit basic and bland in his performance but that could be down to the shy character he is playing.
This film is shot by Bennett Miller – who directed the recent critically-acclaimed Foxcatcher – really well. The film has a great sense of realism and as far as I could see all directing skills were on point. Everything from the lighting, camera direction, use of sound, timing, it all is spot on for the feel and emotion of the moment. A very good director performance by someone who obviously knows how to do sport!
This won’t appeal to people who outright hate sports and sports films, but if you don’t care then don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a sports film. It is actually interesting aside from the sport! Moneyball is one of my favourite ever films, of any genre – very inspiring, very well shot and acted, and very watchable!