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Too baaad Goats falls flat (1)

The Men Who Stare at Goats begins with a wonderful disclaimer: “More of this is true than you would believe.” Most films use phrases like “Based on a true story” or “Inspired by actual events” as a fig leaf for outrageous liberties with little connection to reality. The real incidents behind The Men Who Stare at Goats indeed seem stranger than fiction, but the demands of formulaic three-act screenwriting sabotage the film’s mission.

Based on the book of the same name by Welsh journalist and documentarian Jon Ronson, the film completely reimagines Ronson as Michigan reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor). Personal crises inspire Wilton to attempt to cover the 2002 invasion of Iraq. While languishing in Kuwait City and envying the embedded war correspondents, Wilton meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Cassady turns out to be a veteran of the U.S. Army’s First Earth Battalion, which attempted to train psychic soldiers.

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(Photo Courtesy Laura Macgruder/Westgate Film Services, LLC.)




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