q Pitt is on the money with this homerun - The Copenhagen Post

Pitt is on the money with this homerun

*****(Out of 6)

Okay, I get it. Being a Canadian I grew up with and around baseball so I understand the sport. And that is a definite advantage, without question, as I can watch Moneyball as a baseball movie first, a drama about the underdog second. But itÂ’s no different from me watching a (European) football movie. While I certainly would not be into the finer points of the game, I can follow the sport. If it has a story that intrigues me and characters that I can route for, it is a film that I can watch and enjoy regardless of the stage. This is Moneyball.

Moneyball recounts the game changing season of the Oakland Athletics baseball team in 2002. They were a small budget club (think Wigan in the English Premiership), who were short on funds (players were forced to pay for their own sodas in the locker room) and who had just lost three of their best players on free tranfers with no chance to sign them, or players of similar stature. The general manager, Billy Beane (Pitt), sees that the same old, same old will simply keep them afloat with no chance of real success. In a meeting with another general manager where Beane fails to secure the player he wants,  he unearths Peter Brand (a smartly underplayed Jonah Hill), an economics graduate who may have the edge that is needed in finding players who are ‘undervaluedÂ’ throughout Major League Baseball.

Brand’s analysis is based on an often overlooked stat as it prizes the unglamorous but essential ability to get on base. Brand had correctly observed that in order to score runs you need to have men on base. While this sounds obvious it was too often overlooked with teams/scouts preferring batting prowess, athleticism and hot looking girlfriends. In this way, these ‘undervalued’ players can be had very cheaply. This experiment will either make Beane a living legend or just another washed-up former ball player.

Granted, this makes Moneyball sound like a geeky baseball movie clouded over by a bunch of statistics, which, in many ways, it is. However, it isnÂ’t really a movie about what happens on the field, itÂ’s about what happens behind it, around it and off it as Beane tries to make his vision a reality. Along the way, we only really get to know a couple of the players, while the old guard is represented by the field manager Art Howe (played brilliantly, as always, by Hoffman), but Beane and Brand are ever present.         

Pitt is having a banner year. After already turning in a potential-award winning performance in The Tree of Life, he now has another potential award winner here with Beane and Moneyball.

His goofy charm keeps Beane from being the typical unsympathetical jock. Instead heÂ’s a man driven to succeed with just the right hint of cockiness. The chemistry between himself and Hill is so good that you would think that they have worked together on numerous pieces before and maybe they will again before, PittÂ’s self-imposed retirement kicks in.

Moneyball is based on a Michael Lewis book of the same name written in 2003, and PittÂ’s patience seems to have been rewarded as he stuck through several directors and years of studio foot-shuffling. Although, with the sublime direction of Bennett Miller, it is apparent it was worth the wait. Miller manages to create understated emotion and intrigue while not actually having a villain to work against, which is no easy task.

Moneyball is not a home run but it is a man on base, which to Beane is as good as it gets.

Moneyball (3)
Dir: Bennett Miller; US drama, 2011, 133 mins; Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Steven Bishop and Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Premiered December 15
Playing nationwide