A wan, muted film that is never less than interesting, but rarely more than that either.
It's well built but the Matt Damon character remains blank and too young to be convincing. It's solid, but like Damon himself it's a bit dull.
A very dark, murky film, resentfully critical of the dysfunctional CIA family.
| Original Score: 2/5
Damon's shirts are always crisp, but he has the charisma of a perfectly groomed corpse.
| Original Score: 3/5
Infused with that glow of earnest deliberation characteristic of liberal Hollywood when focusing its well-paid talents on a worthy cause.
| Original Score: 2/4
A serious film about a seriously relevant subject that, despite its flaws, fulfils much of its over-reaching ambition.
Polished spy drama is a classy affair.
| Original Score: 4/5
De Niro's second film features terrific performances and several impressive scenes, but he appears to have forgotten to hire an editor.
Well-crafted and well-acted, but ever-so-slightly worthy and strangely unaffecting. Given the track record of the CIA, it probably ought to be angrier.
Intelligent, yes, politically astute, stuffed to the gills with A-list acting talent (overstuffed in fact, there are cameos a go-go), but too frozen with a sense of its own seriousness to grip.
The film's watchable enough if you're indulgent of its flaws but at 167 minutes it does tax the patience.
Overlong and a little overstuffed, but De Niro's ambitious tale of the CIA's Cold War genesis is still worthy, smart and relevant.
The assured complexity of the film is only half successful as a result, including the central emotional throttle of father-son traumas. But it's still an engaging work, crafted with great care and attention to detail.
De Niro juggles the myriad big-picture parts with reserved professionalism; it's the central character, ironically, that's the movie's Achilles' heel.
| Original Score: 3/6
A slick and classy production, dripping with talent and expensive production values.
| Original Score: B
Any time The Good Shepherd tries to get dramatic, it goes limp from the effort, straining to impress us with the human cost of the Cold War spy game.
The Good Shepherd feels authentic because it keeps everything on a human scale. There's no mythologizing the agency; there's just a solid depiction of how it was shaped by human beings.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
It's a risky narrative strategy, and if it's not always riveting, it is apt: defined by his secrets, Edward recedes from his own story.
Hardly a lightning bolt, and hardly one that deserves 160 deadening minutes of misdirection and repetition.
At nearly three hours, the reach is so vast the movie never finds its shape.