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The Good Shepard

Tom's Recommended Film of the Week

Tough descision to make this week, as I saw a number of good films, but my recommendation is for The Good Shepard. Robert De Niro has only directed three films, each of which I've seen and enjoyed. He chooses strong, yet simple stories, with compeling themes and crafts them into stylish and intriguing films. The Good Shepard is long, at nearly 3 hours and I have read reviews which suggested severe editing was in order and would not destroy the story. I can't disagree with that, but I will say that in it's present form it has a beautifully artistic quality, which is probably the result of De Niros's directing and Eric Roth's screenplay. When I had finished viewing The Good Sheaprd, my first thought was, a simple yet compelling story crafted into a wonderfully artistic film.

The cast is very diverse, but includes some excellent actors. Matt Damon is always enjoyable, as is Angelina Jolie, who gets a chance to try something different from her ususal fare for this film. Alec Baldwin, William Hurt and John Turturro provide superior supporting roles to give the film a richness not often seen in a spy film. But then, this is not like any spy film you may have seen before. There is less action, more silence, more thinking. If it's an action spy film you seek, I would recommend Casino Royale or The Bourne Identity, both of which I enjoy very much. But if you like history and want to have a sense for how the CIA developed in it's early days post WWII, or have pro/con ideas about devotion to country and want to explore other perspectives, then give The Good Shepard a try.