The Men Who Stare at Goats

Year: 2009
Production Co: Smoke House
Director: Grant Heslov
Producer: Grant Heslov
Writer: Peter Straughan
Cast: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick

If you aren't a former reader of one-world-government-panic-and-alfoil-hats conspiracy magazines like I am you won't realise but the only fictional part of this film is the characters - everything from trying to walk through walls to killing goats by staring at them is indeed true, as the title card at the beginning of the films says.

It's based on the non-fiction account of the experiments of a top secret US army unit that really did pursue warfare by psychic means. The net result in trying to squeeze them all into a fictional movie however is an episodic feel. The narrative feels a little too much like it mere set dressing to anchor these crazy stories onto. The story and climax themselves don't engage as much as each scene does individually.

Journalist Bob (McGregor) finds himself at a loose end when his wife dumps him. Deciding to try and become an embedded reporter in Iraq, he becomes the erstwhile audience through which exposition is dispensed by a host of crazy characters.

He comes across Linn (Clooney), a self-important and slightly deluded former soldier who tells Bob about the unbelievable history of the Army's psychic spies or 'Jedi warriors', led by hippie Bill Django (Bridges) after training them in remote viewing and other psychic powers.

The trouble is, Linn's not nearly as talented as he thinks he is, and his powers get he and Bob deeper into trouble as he reveals his real purpose for being there. He's been bought back in on a mission to find Bill, long since missing.

Seeing some of the outlandish things the US government has spent money on is a satdonic pleasure, but there aren't as much laughs as you hope for and reading the non-fiction book would actually be a better proposition.

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