VOD film review: Moneyball
Chris Bryant | On 02, Nov 2013
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill
Watch Moneyball online in the UK: Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Google Play
Unsuccessful baseball prodigy Billy Beane (Pitt) is now the manager of the Oakland A’s and after an impressive season, in which they challenged teams with three times their budget, he’s losing his three best players. Struggling against the team’s owner and his scouting squad, Beane uses his eye for talent and buys an analyst from another team: Peter Brand (Hill). An economics graduate from Yale, he’s a math master and believes he’s discovered a new way to pick players using averages. The theory? Beane could have a championship team without breaking the bank.
Stylishly penned by Aaron Sorkin, he’s at his Social Network-esque best with Moneyball; Beane’s deadpan, hard-nosed old schooler plays perfectly off of Brand’s uncertain, polite intelligence. Rejected by the sporting community, their own scouts and the head coach (Philip Seymour Hoffman) for attempting to apply a formula to a game of risk, it becomes clear that the two have only an all-encompassing passion for baseball in common. Their struggle is inspiring and astounding – the epitome of an underdog story.
Brilliantly edited by Christopher Tellefsen and beautifully shot – by one Wally Pfister, nonetheless – Moneyball’s bright-eyed marvelling at their tiny revolution is infectious. Billy Beane’s blunt delivery and obvious love of baseball could seem stereotypical, but the two leads are so perfectly written, acted and directed the larger-than-life character becomes entirely believable.
Led fearlessly by Pitt, the cast and crew create a sports film more about spirit than runs. Striking performances by Hill and Hoffman – as well as smaller turns from Chris Pratt as a scared first baseman being played out of position and Robin Wright as Billy’s tough-but-worried ex-wife – render Moneyball a tour de force of charm and wit that will have you cheering for the sport, even if you’ve never watched it before.