The Good Shepherd - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Good Shepherd Reviews

Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 15, 2007
The film's watchable enough if you're indulgent of its flaws but at 167 minutes it does tax the patience.
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
February 3, 2007
De Niro juggles the myriad big-picture parts with reserved professionalism; it's the central character, ironically, that's the movie's Achilles' heel.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
January 3, 2007
No previous American film has ventured into this still largely unknown territory with such authority and emotional detachment. For this reason alone, The Good Shepherd is must-see viewing.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 30, 2006
De Niro seems to be good with actors but less successful at stringing a movie together, and keeping it together, scene by scene.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 22, 2006
The mesmerizing espionage thriller chronicles the inception and ascendancy of the CIA.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
December 22, 2006
It's like watching a fish stare at you from inside the magnifying wall of an aquarium, and about as exciting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 22, 2006
It's a long (nearly three hours), deliberately paced film, and an intelligent one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
December 22, 2006
Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd is a remarkable study of the corrosive effects of fear and power on an establishment insider who puts duty above all else.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
December 22, 2006
Damon is solid as usual, but as the film rolls into hour three, his inscrutability starts to feel less like a personality trait than an unwillingness to develop the character.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 22, 2006
A cool-headed thriller, and a richly detailed character study that traces the birth and evolution of America's foreign espionage bureaucracy, The Good Shepherd also marks a significantly more mature, assured directing turn from Robert De Niro.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 22, 2006
It's a perfectly paranoid world that director Robert De Niro chronicles in this patient, methodical thriller.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 22, 2006
It's a rich concept -- The Godfather, Part II set in Langley, Va. -- and it might have been a classic if someone like Francis Ford Coppola had come out of semi-retirement to direct it.
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 22, 2006
Sad to say, but Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, an ambitious and starry but lamentably interminable attempt to trace the beginnings of the Central Intelligence Agency, may well have you counting sheep.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
December 22, 2006
If the lives of CIA spies are really this dreary, they may as well keep their secrets to themselves.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 22, 2006
An intricate, deliberately paced 2-hour and 37-minute work that not only quietly presents this quicksand world but also makes us feel what it would be like to live in it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
December 22, 2006
The Good Shepherd is a painstakingly composed film, as planned and programmed and puzzled over as tactical maneuvers on a chessboard.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 22, 2006
The Good Shepherd is a flat draft of history that looks at the Central Intelligence Agency's early years through the horn-rimmed gaze of a fictional spook.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
December 22, 2006
Painfully overlong, weighed down by its own self-conscious seriousness and filled with nonsurprises, The Good Shepherd will appeal only to those who like dreary tales filled with unlikable characters.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 22, 2006
The Good Shepherd is a quietly sweeping, intensely intelligent and nail-biting history of the Central Intelligence Agency.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
December 22, 2006
Moving from 1939 to 1961, an incident-heavy script finds enough material to keep several movies percolating, yet it seldom reaches a boil.
| Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Michael Booth
Denver Post
December 22, 2006
Robert De Niro sat at the feet of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, and learned his lessons well.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 22, 2006
Told with a visual efficiency that belies the film's considerable length, Shepherd is a muscular, unsentimental movie about shadow warriors and dark compromises. It takes its audience's intelligence for granted and rewards it at every turn.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Jim Emerson
RogerEbert.com
December 22, 2006
If you think George Tenet's Central Intelligence Agency was a disaster, wait until you see Robert De Niro's torpid, ineffectual movie about the history of the agency, The Good Shepherd.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
December 22, 2006
Perhaps it's fitting that a movie about the early CIA be tangled and opaque, but this drama loosely based on the life of uberspook James Angleton verges on incoherence.
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
December 22, 2006
The Good Shepherd leaves you longing for the other, better political thrillers it evokes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 21, 2006
Directed by Robert De Niro, The Good Shepherd is an origin story about the C.I.A., and for the filmmakers that story boils down to fathers who fail their sons.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
December 21, 2006
The Good Shepherd is serious adult moviemaking, a truly surprising effort from De Niro, a man deeply interested in the art, craft and psychology of espionage.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 21, 2006
The Good Shepherd does occasionally strike the right, creepy note.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
December 21, 2006
Except for helping you maintain a consistently slow pulse rate, The Good Shepherd isn't good for much.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
December 21, 2006
Imagine a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant version of the first two Godfather movies drained of operatic passion but left with all their epochal sweep, double-dealing violence and richly detailed verisimilitude.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 21, 2006
It's a rare occasion when you emerge from a sprawling three-hour movie thinking about how much they left out.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 21, 2006
This rangy spy saga, odd but not unrewarding, oscillates between murmured, hushed skullduggery and the eerie quiet of its central character.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 21, 2006
[Robert De Niro has] made one of the best pictures of the year.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 20, 2006
It's almost impossible to buy Wilson as a pioneer who helped shape one of the world's most intricate and devious intelligence agencies, leaving us to wonder how the CIA could ever have gotten off the ground through the labors of such an utter stiff.
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 20, 2006
Clocking in at nearly three hours, The Good Shepherd is a numbing history of the C.I.A. that leaves you Novocained.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
December 19, 2006
It's the story of the season: Trim about a half-hour and you could turn a good movie into a great one.
Top Critic
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
December 19, 2006
As long as it is, Shepherd speeds through its leading man's life, cramming in 30 years without elaborating on any of them.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 18, 2006
The Good Shepherd is equally fascinating as a character drama and as a cold war thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
December 18, 2006
One of the most impressive movies ever made about espionage.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 15, 2006
It's tough to slog through a movie that has no pulse.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 13, 2006
A buttoned-up, shadowy dramatic recounting of the early days of the buttoned-up, shadowy Central Intelligence Agency.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic

TIME Magazine
December 11, 2006
Damon is terrific in the role--all-knowing, never overtly expressing a feeling.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
December 11, 2006
Even if the movie's vast reach exceeds its grasp, it's a spellbinding history lesson.
Top Critic

Variety
December 8, 2006
Not boring, exactly, but undeniably tedious.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
December 8, 2006
While a bit unwieldy at nearly three hours and at times slow going, the film is absolutely fascinating for anyone who shares De Niro's passions.