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:: Moneyball

It’s hard to imagine Australians flocking to see a movie that centres around American baseball, however those choosing to ignore Moneyball maybe doing themselves the disservice of missing a film that should deserve some attention on Oscars night, as this is a well-scripted and beautifully acted film that demands attention.

Based on a book by Michael Lewis, Moneyball tells the true story of baseball General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who is manager at a one of the poorest baseball teams in the American League. When his teams makes the playoffs but then is beaten by a team with a mega-budget he tries to devise a way to take the next step, as well as replace the three top players they have just lost, while not breaking the bank. Unable to raise any more cash, by chance Beane meets Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a young man who believes that baseball teams should be built using stastics and not baseball knowledge. Much to the anger of the Athletics’ coach, Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) Beane and Brand put together a team of players that most other league clubs wouldn’t touch in a million years as they approach a new season.

Director, Bennett Miller does an amazing job making this film accessible to a worldwide audience. Instead of focusing on the baseball (a sport that is not so popular out of America) element of Moneyball he allows this to become a well-crafted character drama instead of just another mundane sports film. The script is so believable that you feel you are watching a documentary and you are willing to forget the fact that the film shows a few continuity errors (the use of big screen TVs before their team, incorrect uniforms etc) because you become so damn interested in the storyline at hand. Both the characters of Beane and Brand are interesting and you really do find yourself barracking them for to win… don’t we always want to see the underdog prove everyone wrong. Moneyball also gives the public a great chance to have a look at the business side of a sports team… now that is a side that most people never get to see in their lives.

It’s not unbelievable that Brad Pitt could attract an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Beane. He looks so natural in the role that you can be forgiven for thinking that you are watching a docco about Beane. Pitt is also well supported by Jonah Hill who shows everybody that he is capable of delivering more than just comedic roles. Hill really announces himself in Moneyball and deserves to be ranked alongside actors such as Jim Carrey and Robin Williams who can pull off drama and comedy with ease. If Pitt doesn’t get an Oscar nom for Moneyball it’s a shame. If Hill doesn’t get one then a downright crime has been committed.

Moneyball will surprise many by the fact that it is an intense drama that leaves the audience completely satisfied. It is so well written that I believe that this is a film I could watch over and over again and still enjoy it each time.