So I saw The Good Shepherd last night, or as it was called in the early development stages, The Godfather for WASPs. Overall, a great movie, and well worth the three hours required to sit through the whole thing.
It’s taken me until now to figure out what I think of Matt Damon’s performance in the movie, but I eventually decided that I liked it. Every movie I’ve seen him in he’s been really restrained and somewhat emotionless, and in this movie moreso than in anything else he’s done. In most actors, I would call that just bad acting, but in Damon it actually does look like restraint. It looks like an actual artistic choice on the part of Damon and the director, Robert DeNiro.
And for the most part, it works. That kind of half-dead, emotionless man seems perfect for the CIA, especially the CIA portrayed in the movie. It takes some courage, I think, to make a man that emotionless and unsympathetic the protagonist of a film. Even Michael Corleone at least shed the occasional tear.
What makes this film really interresting and really disturbing is that it has the ring of truth to it. This is perhaps the only spy movie I’ve ever seen that I can buy taking place in our world instead of some parallel universe. Considering what the movie has to say about the Cold War, and the methods that the Americans used to fight it, that’s more than a little unsettling.