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It’s a story so fantastic and surreal that why wouldn’t it be true? A small-town reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) has uncovered the mother of all stories and he is spreading the truth to everyone.
“Men Who Stare at Goats” is the story Wilton uncovered. After his wife left him for his editor, Wilton travels to Iraq at the beginning stages of the U.S. invasion to write a killer story and reclaim his pride.
What occurs, however, is so much more than what Wilton expected. He meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) who claims to be a part of an experimental military unit. Rather than guns and bombs, these men use their minds and methods of peace to achieve victory.
As Wilton travels with Cassady into the heart of the Iraq desert, he goes further into Cassady’s world.
It is with a certain amount of bias that I say I loved this movie. Being that I too am a reporter at a small town newspaper, I cheered for Wilton who takes a chance and winds up with a fantastic adventure. Plus, I loved watching the suave Clooney get goofy as he practiced his cloud blasting skills or cut a rug to the hippie music beat.
The real gem is Jeff Bridges who plays Bill Django, the man who created the experimental unit, known as the New Earth Army. Django is a colonel with a hippie’s soul and who takes his soldiers under his fatherly wings. All these characters are seriously eccentric but the actors should be applauded for portraying them with the right amount of restraint and sensitivity. They turned into believable performances.
The whole movie, which apparently is based on some real-life events, might be a little far-out and loopy but its satiric look at war and the U.S. military delivers a serious argument that war can be idiotic and its consequences are devastating. For instance, Wilton and Cassady encounter an Iraqi man who has been kidnapped. After fleeing from his captors, being exposed to a gun fight between rival U.S. security companies and finally reaching his home, the man discovers his house is scarred with bullet holes and his wife is missing. Just like in the real world, the movie, even with its all quirks, offers some truth we can all learn.