Don’t give a crap about organised sports? Know nothing about baseball? This movie is for you.
I especially enjoyed Jonah Hill here. His performance, like the film, works because of its understatement and under-explanation of the complexities of both the world of pro baseball and the economic concepts his and Brad Pitt‘s characters introduce to this world. The technical details may be obscure, but the tension is palpable.
Apparently Soderbergh was supposed to direct this, and I can totally see him doing it – although he was fired because his vision would have taken it another way: he’s said in interviews that he would have had more documentary-style interviews with the real-life baseball team’s board of experts (who are the guys in the boardroom scenes here) who were so affronted by this new method being thrown in their faces.
Although quite a different film, this joins A Few Good Men (both were penned by Aaron Sorkin) in my Movies About Talking list, a category of Hollywood movies that have no sex or violence, relying totally on dialogue and performance, and set in a world I have little-to-no interest in, and yet i find riveting from beginning to end.
The book’s author and the film’s two screenwriters discuss how a story about numbers became a book about trying to change minds, and how an “uncinematic” story was adapted into a script about second chances (via Film Extra):