Grant Heslov, produced by George Clooney based upon the book by Jon
Ronson on the creation and expansion of a secret unit of the Army that
specialises in psychological warfare, the power of the mind is greater
than any man made weapon. And the belief that they are all jedi's.
The casting coup of the film is Ewan MacGregor cast as Bob Wilton, the
filmic version of Ronson, who witnesses all the work of Linn Cassidy
(Clooney). MacGregor handles his role as doubting thomas effectively,
and there are brilliant laughs every time he dismisses the word 'jedi'
in the film, laughing it off as a cheap gimmick.
The film reminded me at times in terms of tone of 'Confessions of a
Dangerous Mind' Clooney's directorial debut about a game show host who
was approached to be a spy. The people thrust into a role that
they believe they are meant for, but in fact is the only thing they are
good at until the time is up.
Clooney plays his character with wide eyes and self-belief akin to
Ulysses in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' but at times his self-belief
can be disbelieving upon the audiences. And the narrative
structure, flitting back and forth from Bob and Linn back to the
genesis of the New Earth Army, headed by Bob Django (Jeff Bridges) a
good soldier who becomes a born again hippy making the Army believe
they can kill people with their minds instead of guns - these nostalgia
scenes recall 'Forrest Gump's' hippy years, and they provide the most
laughs for an audience in need of some.
Bridges floats through the his role, becoming downtrodden by the end as
Larry Hapgood (Kevin Spacey) takes over.
The trailer for this film did a disservice to this film, it was built
up as a quirky comedy with dark undertones due to the
serious political context, however there were moments when not a
lot happened and the laughs were hard to come by.
A shame as such a quality cast, you feel that something is missing from
the end product of a film that threatened so much but leaves you a
little bit underwhelmed.