The Men Who Stare At Goats

The Men Who Stare At Goats* *
The Men Who Stare At Goats
– sp – This is a comedy, or more specifically, a farce that is trying to make fun of the US Army for some ventures that they made into exploring the use of new age techniques and the potential of the application of the paranormal for fighting the enemy. The story is loosely based on book by Jon Ronson published in 2004 where he described the ideas of Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon who served in Vietnam War and in the late 1970s proposed the formation of the First Earth Battalion. He produced a 125-page manual of drawings, graphs, maps, polemical essays and point by point redesigns of every aspect of military life. Movie producer Paul Lister who was the guest at our film course told us that the actual manual was shown in the movie. In that manual it was proposed that rather than using bullets and munitions, a new force would attempt to first win the hearts and minds of the enemy by doing such things as using positive vibrations, carrying “symbolic animals” of peace—such as baby lambs—into hostile countries, greeting people with “sparkly eyes.” There was a bit in the movie where the character played by George Clooney tries to flash his eyes to bring about this effect. The overall storyline is that a recently divorced, unhappy newspaper reporter played by Ewan McGregor goes to Iraq to find a good story and meets

Clooney who tells how he is a former Jedi of the above group and is reactivated for a new mission. You add Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges to the mix with this premise and you get some good delivery of comedic situations, which brought about some loud laughs in the movie theater. There are attempts at “remote viewing” walking through walls, killing goats by starring at them etc. They also brought in the idea of giving LSD to people without them knowing it, which the US and the CIA are known to have actually done about 50 years ago. A real film clip shown in the movie of a news report of Iraqi prisoners continually being subjected to bothersome music to break them down to get information. Thus the film seems to also be attempting to satirize recent US actions with prisoners as well as the earlier time when the Earth Battalion was being proposed. Technically speaking, they are also confusing psychological warfare with paranormal or new age warfare. But after all, it is a comedy albeit it somewhat slapstick. In the end the movie goes nowhere. The targets of the satire are nebulous. It was fluffy without any real depth. (2009)

Category: 2 Stars, Comedy, War | Tags: , , , , , , Comment »

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