Thanks to a great script by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, a quietly compelling performance from Brad Pitt and shrewd direction by Bennett Miller ("Capote"), "Moneyball" should appeal to audiences well beyond sports fans. It's one of the classiest movies of the year and a strong bet for a ribbon of Oscar nominations.
That's where Moneyball picks up the story of former baseball star Billy Beane -- played by Brad Pitt -- who's now the struggling general manager of the Oakland A's. He's had a lousy season, his team has no money and his family has left him high and dry.
The film is based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, who also wrote The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game, which was the source material for the 2009 Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side. Moneyball is the story of one man's attempt to do the impossible -- build a million dollar baseball team on nothing but a poor man's budget. This character -- portrayed by Brad Pitt in his most accessible role to date -- has to think outside the box... or diamond, if you will.
Chris Pratt plays an uncertain ball player. He's vulnerable, athletic, scared and adorable. The music is moving, subtle, emotional and everything you want from a film that loves the game of baseball. It loves the green, it loves the diamond, it loves the national anthem and the batting cage, the dirty locker room and the dingy offices. This film is essentially a hallmark to a sport that's suddenly my new favorite game.
That's really sounds interesting! Pitt has a watchful, introspective quality that makes "Moneyball" more than the sum of its statistical components. It's a fascinating portrait of a man who's given his life to baseball and is trying to figure out if it's worth it.
Moneyball isn't about baseball. Moneyball is about corruption and competition and how convoluted life can be. And what does Pitt say to that revelation? "To hell with the rules, I'm going to try something different, no matter how tough it is." The movie itself is not a game changer by any means, but it's more than good enough to make you think again about what success adds up to in the long run.