If you’ve read Michael Lewis’ best-selling book, Moneyball, you were probably a little intrigued when Hollywood announced that Brad Pitt would be starring in a film-adapted version of the best-seller.
The book, considered to be among one of the most influential and ground-breaking sports books ever written, focused on the 2002 Oakland Athletics and their highly modernized, analytical approach to assembling a competitive team.
The movie version, which was written by Oscar winners Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network) and Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List), effectively utilizes most of the book’s main ideas and concepts while telling the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s and their resilient GM Billy Beane.
Beane, portrayed by Brad Pitt, is put under a microscope in the film-version, as director Bennett Miller (“Capote”) orchestrates a very deep character study of Beane.
The film touches upon Beane’s failed major league career as a player, and even delves into his personal life, showcasing his close relationship with his daughter.
The film, which also stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe, and Jonah Hill as Peter Brand (based on Paul DePodesta), has a very solid script, and really superb acting throughout.
Like the book, Miller’s Moneyball tells the tale of Beane’s unique approach to assembling a competitive team despite having one of baseball’s lowest payrolls.
Pitt’s performance as Beane was highly enjoyable, and he’s probably at his best during the film. Hoffman and Hill provide solid performances, especially Hill, who surprisingly played well alongside Pitt.
The film, which clocks in at a little over two hours, does feel a bit long, and that may detract some people from seeing the movie. In a way, the film has a pacing that is found in a typical baseball game, and for those who hate baseball, Moneyball might be a film to stay away from.
Personally, I enjoyed this film from beginning to end. The film includes actual game footage from the team’s 20-game win streak, which sadly, amounted to nothing—something that Pitt’s Beane notes in the film. It was a bit nostalgic, and I’m guessing the film will definitely be a hit among A’s fans. But baseball fans, who have the mindset that this is purely a product of Hollywood and don’t take it for anything else, will enjoy Moneyball too.
Overall, the film was highly enjoyable, with memorable performances by Pitt and Hill making Moneyball of the year’s best films. The film, while pretty faithful to Lewis’ book, doesn’t contain all the sabermetrics and mathematical equations found in the book. This film, while about baseball, is more about the story of bunch of underdogs looking to prove themselves.
Verdict: TRIPLE. Moneyball has a few issues with its run-time, but overall fans of baseball should enjoy this movie-adaptation of Lewis’ book. It doesn’t quite leave the ballpark, but Moneyball is definitely a movie you don’t want to miss.