Moneyball (2011) – A Review

Brad Pitt Jonah Hill Moneybag 2011
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball

“How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

As the Oakland Athletic’s begin their 2002 season, general manager Billy Beane faces the realization the old way of putting together his team just doesn’t work. The low-budgeted A’s can’t possibly compete against their super-rich rivals by trying to assemble a team in the traditional sense, in other words spending big money. So Beane tries something radically different.

Moneyball tells the story of how Beane (Brad Pitt) implemented a statistical system to find the value in undervalued players. Being unable to offer astronomical big-league salaries, Beane and economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) try to form a baseball team by using theories that would help them find cheaper, untapped talent and still give them a chance of winning the final game of the season.

Based on the true story, Moneyball isn’t the typical ‘baseball movie’. With a story filled with statistics, numbers and data being calculated and analyzed one might think watching this story could be very dry, but it’s just the opposite. Thanks to a smart script, excellent performances and tight direction Moneyball kept me engaged from beginning to end.

Pitt contemplating at the Oakland stadium

I would never have thought of it, but Pitt and Hill make a very good onscreen pair. With Pitt’s energetic Beane and Hill’s soft-spoken Brand, the two characters create an interesting partnership. They have some very funny scenes.

There’s also plenty of dramatic ones recounting Beane’s own personal history of being a player with promises of greatness, players being casually traded or let go for the sake of a business decision and the question ‘does it mean anything if you don’t win the big game in the end?”.

Naturally, despite their faith in this whole numbers idea there are conflicts by owners, managers, fans and the players towards this whole plan. Confusion and apprehension by everyone around makes Beane’s scheme even more difficult to implement. All those scenes add up to the building pressure on Beane and how much he really is shaking things up with America’s favorite past time.

Even if you know how it all ends baseball fans and non-fans should find Moneyball a very engrossing and entertaining film.

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