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Edward Wilson, a patriot who understands the value of secrecy— discretion and a commitment to honor have been embedded in him since his tragic and privileged childhood. As an eager, sensitive student at Yale in 1939, he is recruited to join the secret Skull and Bones society, a tightly knit brotherhood that serves to develop future world leaders.
Drama - This is a talky, slow, very long drama. Although the subject is the
CIA, this is not an action film though there are some moments of
violence. Fans of Angelina Jolie and Robert DeNiro may be
disappointed by their very limited screen time, but Matt Damon fans
have plenty to savor.
PROFANITY: 4 F-words, 2 S-words, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: Sex without nudity; non-sexual nudity. VIOLENCE: Shootings and hits. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol, tobacco, LSD. ACTION: A shooting. COMEDY: Rare wisecracks.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Very Good The bottom line is that The Good Shepherd is engaging cinema. The length is a drawback, but not a big one since the movie earns the majority of its 165-minute running time. De Niro pulls the viewer into the world he has created and holds him there, sometimes spellbound, until the story is over and the end credits roll.
Roger EbertFull Review Average Imagine a spy movie -- a spy movie! -- with no intrigue, no suspense, and scarcely any characters, even though there are lots of parts and plenty of good actors to play them. And so, scene after clumsy scene, minute after tedious minute (there are 167 of them altogether), "The Good Shepherd" aimlessly meanders to its dead-end conclusion, rarely missing an opportunity to loop back for an unnecessary flashback.
USA TodayFull Review Good Deliberately paced, epic and ambitious, The Good Shepherd feels related in tone, mood and style to The Godfather. The mesmerizing espionage thriller chronicles the inception and ascendancy of the CIA. What makes the story work so powerfully is his (De Niro's) focus on a multidimensional individual — Wilson — thereby creating a stirring personal tale about the inner workings of the clandestine government agency.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 94 moviegoers:
TEENS: About half enjoyed it and half thought it was just average to below average. So, your probability of enjoying it is 50/50.
TWENTYSOMETHINGS: About half the males really enjoyed "The Good Shepherd." Most of the remaining half rated it average, which is somewhat low. Only a small percentage of the females truly enjoyed it. Most rated it average to below average. Not the greatest opinions, but most should enjoy it, at least to some degree.
ADULTS: The adult opinions are not terrible but they are certainly not very good! There are very few high opinions and LOTS of low opinions. Some did enjoy it but most rated it as average to below average. If you plan to see this movie I would strongly recommend a lower price matinee just to be safe.
Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy--discretion and commitment to honor have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson's acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII.
As one of the covert founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Wilson's idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency's veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. However, his steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-increasing price. Not even his wife Clover (Angelina Jolie) or his beloved son can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in pursuit of this job.