The Good Shepherd

Saw The Good Shepherd recently. Interesting but flawed movie.


  • It’s long. Really long. At 165 minutes, it can only be considered self-indulgently long (it’s been a pet project of De Niro’s for a decade). And it’s not exactly as if every one of those minutes is action-packed.
  • Matt Damon plays the part of Edward Wilson, a buttoned-down CIA man (a fictionalized version of the actual James Jesus Angleton), but his portrayal is so buttoned-down that it’s hard for the audience to get inside his head at all. Why does he join the CIA? Why does he do anything? He’s a cipher.

Still, there are worse ways to spend a cold and rainy afternoon.

The movie covers the life of Wilson from college through middle age, and it’s amusing to note that boy-faced Matt Damon looks the same throughout the movie, but Angelina Jolie, who plays his wife, has obviously been made up (or digitally rejuvenated in post) to look young in college-age scenes—when she first appeared on-screen, I was surprised—“that sounds like Angelina Jolie, and it looks like a younger version of her, but that’s not her.”

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