XenForo Template The Good Shepherd ________________________________________ THE GOOD SHEPHERD Studio: Universal Film Year: 2006 Film Length: 168 minutes Genre: Thriller/Drama Aspect Ratio: • Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1 Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish Film Rating: R Release Date: April 3, 2007. Rating: 4/5 With: Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin and appearances by Timothy Hutton, Joe Pesci, Keir Dullea and Robert De Niro Written by: Eric Roth Directed by: Robert De Niro THE GOOD SHEPHERD is a solid movie, if a long one, coming in at just under 3 hours in length. For Robert De Niro’s second film as a director, it is an ambitious project – telling the story of the birth of the CIA and the disastrous effect it had on the men that founded it. Matt Damon plays the lead role, an amalgam of the men who created the counter-intelligence division of the CIA and subsequently suffered extreme paranoia as a result. The film is structured in many ways like THE GODFATHER PART TWO, with constant flashbacks from a cold present to a warmer past. The only problem here is that we don’t get the level of performance seen in the earlier film. Matt Damon does a decent job of playing an increasingly closed off man, but the part calls for a lot more under the hood. (Watching him play scenes next to William Hurt just brings to mind what the younger Hurt would have done with this role 20 years ago…) Angelina Jolie is featured in the film but really doesn’t have much to do throughout. And it’s a fairly long trip to arrive at a pretty ordinary conclusion. But there’s a lot of attention to detail here, and a palpable sense of loss by the end, even if the film hasn’t quite earned it. VIDEO QUALITY: 4/5 THE GOOD SHEPHERD gets a really nice anamorphic 2.40:1 transfer here. There’s a lot of variety of looks throughout the film, from the cold, wintry present of the film to the warmer flashbacks, to a crisp beach scene in the middle where characters grow out of the tall green grass, and the waves hit the beach with striking clarity. I was particularly thankful for the transfer’s ability to render the tweed pattern jackets worn by Damon’s character without going into a digital fit. There is a lot of darkness in this film, as befits the subject matter, and the transfer gives us some satisfyingly inky blacks. AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5 THE GOOD SHEPHERD has a good sound mix on it which really doesn’t try to fill the room so much as let you hear the dialogue. There are surround effects here and there, but the majority of the bass effects to be heard from the subwoofer are just the more emphatic parts of the score. (Which, to be fair, sounds like there was a bit of an influence from the works of Philip Glass) This isn’t a showy mix, just one that keeps you in the world with the characters throughout, and which lets you hear a range of musical and sonic backdrops without imposing them on you. SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5 • Deleted Scenes – (15:50 total) The only special feature on the disc is a collection of deleted scenes which run approximately 16 minutes. Most of them concern a subplot involving the brother-in-law of Matt Damon’s character, and were wisely deleted as they don’t really deepen the story as much as extend it. The deleted scenes are anamorphically encoded and subtitled. A scene index is provided with 20 chapter stops. No trailers for the film are included, but when you put the disc in the player, several other trailers will automatically play unless you hit the right button… IN THE END... THE GOOD SHEPHERD is a good effort by Robert De Niro to tell the story of the origin of the CIA, and a fairly interesting movie in its own right. The only issues with it are its length and the lack of depth in the lead performances. If you haven’t already seen it, the movie is certainly worth your time to rent. Whether you wish to purchase it depends on your affection for De Niro, Damon, the subject matter or all three. Kevin Koster April 18, 2007.