Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Good Shepherd

THE GOOD SHEPHERD: The Grim Dark Side of Espionage
by Reymundo Salao

Coming from a distinguished family, Edward Wilson began as a member of the Skull and Bones Society at Yale, where future world leaders converge. Brilliant and secretive, his scruples land him at the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA's precursor, and actually helps found the Central Intelligence Agency. But his idealism gradually gives way to suspicion, borne by Cold War paranoia. While he becomes a veteran agent, his lack of trust on everyone grows and grows, even as he is willing to put everything on the line--even his family life--for an all-consuming job. Loosely based on real events, it is advertised as telling the untold story of the birth of counter-intelligence in the Central Intelligence Agency.

This espionage drama is directed by legendary actor Robert De Niro (which marks his third directorial work after “A Bronx Tale” and “The Score”) and boasts a surprisingly stellar cast that includes Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, John Turturro, and appearances by Joe Pesci, Michael Gambon, Timothy Hutton, Billy Crudup, and Robert De Niro. THE GOOD SHEPHERD enjoys much praise from critics but because of an apparent lack of marketing, it seems to have failed to create a hype that will draw the attention of audiences.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD is more of espionage drama than action. This is as realistic as it gets. And the spywork here is not your usual cloak & dagger thriller where spies run after each other exchanging silencer-filtered salvos of gunfire. In its place is a very solid human drama of people involved in such an inhuman business of intelligence and counter-intelligence. With that, this movie has been known as the “Godfather” of spy-movies.

As respectable as his acting career, De Niro delivers a remarkable product with this movie which he has directed. This movie proves that De Niro also has a stark talent in directing that is never mediocre or standardized. The flow and consistency of the storyline is smooth, and he also knows how to budget his scenes that involve long timelines. There are numerous scenes that are beautifully edited in order to establish an almost unnoticeable jump of time skips from one scene to another. In other words, a story that could have taken more than three or four hours to tell has been smartly edited to fit in 2 hours and 47 seconds.

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