Film review – Aaron Sorkin pitches a curveball, and Brad Pitt scores a home run

Brad Pitt stars as a mercurial baseball maverick in Moneyball, an enthralling sports drama based on a true story.

He’s Billy Beane, the general manager of the hard-up Oakland A’s, and he’s sick of seeing his team of also-rans continually lose out to richer rivals. Having just lost his three star players to outfits with deeper pockets, he needs a new strategy – and finds it in the unlikely form of Jonah Hill’s podgy, number-crunching brainiac, whose grasp of the sport’s statistics enables Beane to turn the team’s fortunes around. Flying in the face of received baseball wisdom, Beane starts picking players who’ve been written off or undervalued by the current system, but he struggles to convince the game’s old guard of the merits of his new method…

As sporting dramas go, Moneyball is as unconventional as its protagonist, which in this arena counts as a good thing. For a change, the main action doesn’t take place on the baseball field but in the back offices and corridors where the pertinacious Beane plots his moves and conducts his deals. Pitt is terrific as the film’s complex, driven protagonist, and he and a heavy-hitting supporting cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as the A’s stubborn coach, take the film’s smart script (based on Michael Lewis’s book and co-written by The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin) and knock the ball right out of the park.

On general release from Friday 25th November.


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