I’m not ashamed to admit that I have no interest in baseball. This is part due to the fact that I’m not from the US/Japan, but mainly because I invest far too much of myself into Arsenal Football Club. This, however, did not stop me finding Moneyball an absolutely charming and exuberant sports movie, which was more about the men behind the sport than about the sport itself.
Brad Pitt stars as real-world baseball coach Billy Beane, a man who went against the grain and used statistics rather than talent scouts to build his Oakland A’s team. Ignoring decades of scouting tradition, he hired a Yale graduate in economics and used a spreadsheet to end up as one of the biggest shocks in the sports’ history. His character, expertly written but perfectly delivered, is a cheeky, charming and funny man sent entirely on his morals and ideology. With the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), and some down-and-out baseball players, he proves wrong his critics and goes down in the history books.
Aaron Sorkin’s script is one of the best things about this movie. He is one of the best screenwriters at delivering entirely believable male characters. One of the stand out scenes involves a dozen scouts, Pitt and Hill, and the pace is so dynamic; the lines come thick and fast, and the tension and humour is tangible. Nevertheless, there are a number of silences in the movie that are so well timed, they create a fantastic air of reflection without being clichéd. There were even a few scenes that were so believable they felt improvised, which was actually confirmed by Christopher Tellefsen near the bottom of his interview.
There were a few aspects of this movie that I felt dragged it from being a complete triumph. Firstly, the editing was pretty terrible at points. On a number of occasions there were reaction shots in which you could see the character not facing the camera wasn’t talking, yet you could hear their voice. Also, the storyline with Beane’s daughter felt completely unnecessary. The story with the team was strong enough to appeal to a mass audience but the daughter/family scenes were the weakest in the movie. The final five minutes I found myself a little bored, but it swiftly ended and I was left smiling nonetheless!
Moneyball was a fantastic movie. It won’t be considered among the greatest ever made, but it will be one that will raise your spirits and is a great story about underdogs.