With a title like this and a cast as good as this one, you simply know you’re in for a great ride. And to top it all off, this movie is based on actual events. We will be following US Army efforts to form a paranormal warfare unit. So, you might be wondering just how real is the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats. When it comes to the characters, only a couple are based on real people but when it comes to the experiments, most of them actually happened in some form or another. The best example is the Stargate Project mainly focusing on “remote viewing” efforts.
If you’re wondering why the US Army engaged in such practices in the first place, the answer can be found in the aftermath of WWII. They found Himler’s notes detailing his exploration of the occult and efforts to harness the supernatural for the Nazi cause. Then came the Cold War and so forth. It would appear that the research ended sometime during the nineties, coinciding with the declassification of several experiments from the fifties. All of this sounds a bit too convenient if you ask me. I’m sure they’re experimenting with something crazy right now.
Laced with satire and black humor, The Men Who Stare at Goats is an intelligent and thought-provoking comedy. It easily captures your attention, keeping you engaged throughout its short, 90-minute runtime. It’s a perfect movie to watch after a hard day at work or just existing as it requires almost no effort on the part of the viewer. And, in turn, rewards him with a quirky set of characters and bizarre events. However, sometimes the main story seems disjointed because of the constant shifts between characters and their troubles.
Journalist Bob Wilton is not having a good time. His wife just left him for his boss leaving Bob in a state of disarray. He knew he had to do something to snap out of this slump so he travels to Kuwait to report on the Iraq War. There, he meets a peculiar man claiming to be a part of the US Army team of paranormal soldiers. The story Lyn Cassidy tells him is a wild tale of paranoia, bizarre experiments and proved paranormal abilities. The two men soon form a friendship that will be tested when they find themselves alone in the desert in scorching heat. However, heat is soon going to be the least of their concerns…
I won’t bother you with the performances, production values and other technical details. You simply know they’re all top-notch. However, I do want to mention Grant Heslov’s directing style which was just fucking perfect. It was just quirky enough to create the right mood while still giving you that vibe of a big movie. Sandy Iraqi setting gave the movie another exotic layer amplifiying the mystery of the main story. If you want to learn more about the real events, check out Channel 4’s documentary Crazy Rulers of the World.
And you can also take a look at the Fifth Dimension miniseries. I do believe it’s free to watch on YouTube. Finally, I just want to add that The Men Who Stare at Goats is not just a movie about the military or the paranormal. It’s also about us, people, and our hopes and perceptions of the world. Fast-paced and witty, The Men Who Stare at Goats is an intriguing movie with a great cast, so be sure to check it out.
Director: Grant Heslov
Cast: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick
Fun Stuff: George Clooney’s character, Lyn Cassady is a blend of two real persons. Remote Viewer Joe McMoneagle and RV Project Database Manager Lyn Buchanan.