The Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane finds himself in a very unfortunate position of losing the three star players to other teams. Now he has to assemble a new team on a limited budget, and he employs young Yale graduate Peter Brand to employ statistical analysis to find the undervalued players.
The story is based on the real events and tells us about the real Billy Beane, making it almost semi-documentary. The case study of Moneyball technique is pretty common in business schools and in general on economic courses, and thanks to the book by Michael Lewis it became known to wider audiences.
Hence what is interesting about this movie is not the actual storyline (albeit pretty good), but the fact how different the Moneyball is compared to other movies of 2011. Apart from definitely being nostalgic (have a look at the Artist, Drive and Hugo), 2011 was full of fictional worlds. The entire buzz was going around films which one way or the other recreated parallel universes of some kind: Melancholia, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, as well as the already mentioned Drive and Hugo… the list just goes on. That is why the Moneyball is so refreshing to watch: you actually see that the world depicted is the world around you, without massive alterations.
As all real-life stories, this one is multi-layered and sad. You may know the entire storyline from the book, but that will not prevent you from empathizing with the main character, from trying to understand his decisions and from admiring his courage. The exact fact that you know that the real person stands behind the story makes the film look and feel like biography, prompting some thoughts about the motivation, peoples’ aims and desires and achievements. Something that starts as the usual (even though interesting) story about baseball ends up being metaphorical parable. This is the biography to be jealous about.
The choice of actors was crucial in order to create the documentary style of the film. A lot can be said about the brilliant performance of Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, and the nomination on Oscar 2012 as the best actor sums it up perfectly. However, I believe that it is the duo of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill as Peter Brand which makes the whole film so great. There is some understanding and dynamic interaction between the two, they perfectly complement each other. I don’t think that Pitt should get Oscar for best actor without Hill getting the Oscar for best supporting actor – the support was crucial to the success.
VERDICT: Brilliant adaptation of the original story, it is difficult to remain untouched by the difficulties the main characters face
WATCH: if you admire baseball or Brad Pitt, or generally want to watch some biographical movie.