The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd

DVD - 2007
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MPAA rating: R; for some violence, sexuality and language.
Edward Wilson, the only witness to his father's suicide and a top student and member of the Skull and Bones Society at Yale, is a morally upright young man who values honor and discretion. These qualities lead to his being recruited for a career in the newly-founded Office of Strategic Services (OSS). During World War II, he is sent to England where his ideals gradually turn to suspicion and distrust. As the OSS evolves into the CIA and the Cold War heats up, he becomes an influential veteran operative involved in many covert operations from the Bay of Pigs to secret assassinations. His dedication to his work does not come without a price though, as it increasingly conflicts with his ideals and distances his relationship with his family, particularly his son, who eventually joins the CIA in an attempt to win his father's love and respect.

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m
MichelleinBallard
Jun 06, 2017

Great film, great cast. "The Good Shepherd" is not a "spy thriller" and makes no pretense to that effect. Rather, it is a rich and sophisticated *dramatization* of the OSS/CIA in the Cold War era loosely based on actual historical events and people.

It's far from a pro-CIA film. On the contrary, the CIA took the unusual step of convening a panel in 2007 that publicly critiqued the film. The panel transcript can be found on the CIA's web site. The CIA's hand-picked reviewers were generally panned "The Good Shepherd" and that should tell discerning people something.

I'm tempted to say that DeNiro could have shortened the film but I'm not sure that would have improved it. Sometimes an illuminating story just takes a long time to tell well.

i
itsamitzi
May 10, 2017

The best spy movie ever? Sorry - this is a pathetic Le Carre knock-off with a cast of supposed screen gods of America.

Would not be surprised if CIA and FBI oversaw script write pointing all evils in world at the Soviets, while the USA runs with God as co-pilot. Total bullshit, total suck.

f
firefly5
Sep 18, 2016

Very long movie. Lots of subtle scenes. Life in the CIA told from the perspective of one man. I will watch this a second time to catch the things I have missed.

c
Calvacade
Sep 13, 2016

This is quite a good film- it actually took me a second time to full appreciate what a mature and nuanced film Robert DeNiro had crafted as director.

a
AQUILEA777
Feb 04, 2015

Long, dull, out-of-sequence, but shows the psychopathology of U.S. spymasters, largely recruited from the demented Skull and Bones club at Yale.

3
3romm3la
Jan 29, 2014

For a spy film, it wasn't very suspenseful.

j
jimg2000
May 18, 2013

One of the best spy films in mho. It chronicles the major events of a CIA career man, from his childhood to become the head of counterintelligence. If you would include the 15 minutes of deleted scenes, it would be a 3 hour long movie.

a
akirakato
Jan 28, 2013

This is a 2006 spy film directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.
Although it is a fictional film loosely based on real events, it is advertised as telling the untold story of the birth of counter-intelligence in the Central Intelligence Agency.
The film's main character, Edward Wilson (portrayed by Matt Damon), is loosely based on James Jesus Angleton and Richard M. Bissell.
I'd rather like to see a documentary-drama based on the real events, instead of this fictionalized drama.
It is interesting to see the difference in sexual response between Laura (Tammy Blanchard)---a deaf student at Yale University---and Margaret 'Clover' Russell (Angelina Jolie)---Edward's future wife when each woman goes to bed with the protagonist.
Later while Edward and Laura are at the beach, Clover's brother, John, privately reveals that Clover is pregnant with Edward's child and asks him to "do what is expected."
Laura, an able lip-reader, sees and walks away.
This scene, however, is far-fetched if the director wants the audience to know that Laura read the lips of Clover's brother.
The director should've shown a close-up of the John's lips at least.
This is one of the technical blind-points and short-comings of Robert De Niro as director.
Apparently, Edward loves Laura more than Clover.
If Laura didn't see John's lips and married Edward, the life of Edward might have been quite different.

wayne19711012 Sep 07, 2012

ok but a bit too long

RamseyDale Mar 27, 2012

Beware --- If you read only a few of these comments you will encounter some serious spoilers. Shame on these people!

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jimg2000
Feb 09, 2017

Tons of excellent quotes in IMDb as this exchange:

Bill Sullivan: I have to tell you, I have some real problems with this whole thing despite how much we need it. I'm concerned that too much power will end up in the hands of too few. It's always in somebody's best interest to promote enemies real or imagined. I see this as America's eyes and ears; I don't want it to become its heart and soul. So I told the president for this to work there is going to have to be some kind of civilian oversight.

Edward Wilson: Oversight? How can you have a covert organization if you have people looking over your shoulder?

Bill Sullivan: You know who gave Hitler his power? The clerks and the bookkeepers, the civil servants. I have this one weakness: I believe in a just God. I always seem to err on the side of democracy. ... No matter what anyone tells you there'll be no one you can really trust.... I'm afraid when all is said and done we're all just clerks too.

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