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Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man's life in this espionage drama. (Universal Pictures)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. A remarkable study of the corrosive effects of fear and power on an establishment insider who puts duty above all else.
  2. 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. He seems to believe that we'd better be interested in it, because it's interested in us.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Deliberately paced, epic and ambitious, The Good Shepherd feels related in tone, mood and style to "The Godfather."
  4. 63
    Shepherd wants to say something profound about the effect of a deceitful government on human values. But it's tough to slog through a movie that has no pulse.
  5. In some ways, De Niro does a competent job in his second directorial effort but his characterizations are clumsy, and his members of the Power Elite always seem less real people than stick figures in a propaganda movie.
  6. 50
    A glacially paced, emotionally frosty epic (with a top-drawer cast).
  7. 40
    De Niro is damned if he's going to make a standard thriller out of this view from within the CIA, which might be refreshing if his solemn moral parable weren't so lacking in any other kind of juice, and if its hero were less of a round-shouldered, whey-faced organization man.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 84
  2. Negative: 20 out of 84
  1. Dec 8, 2011
    10
    The Good Shepherd is very much a difficult film to understand. At first glance, it is over 2 and a half hours of boring, sluggish historyThe Good Shepherd is very much a difficult film to understand. At first glance, it is over 2 and a half hours of boring, sluggish history tracing the early history of counterintelligence within the CIA. But upon second glance, the film emerges as something quite different. Is it at all entertaining? No. Is it at all thrilling? For brief moments. But all in all, the film is not meant to be entertaining or thrilling. It is meant to be what film once thrived to be: pure art. It becomes difficult when first seeing this film to see the artistic majesty because most of us have become accustomed to watching a monkey throw **** on a wall and then calling that art. The Good Shepherd becomes like the Mona Lisa, but we must first remember that the Mona Lisa is art and **** on a wall is just **** on a wall. Then we see that this film is perfect because it is art, a true artistic piece of cinema. Expand
  2. RonW.
    Dec 30, 2006
    10
    Intense, cerebral, and as starkly uncompromising as its main protagonist, the film floats the viewer unsuspectingly ever deeper into an Intense, cerebral, and as starkly uncompromising as its main protagonist, the film floats the viewer unsuspectingly ever deeper into an amoral jungle toward a chilling contemporary vision of the diplomatic "heart of darkness" that motivates states and the covert soldiers whose identities are as indistinguishable from each other as from those of the governments they serve. Evoking Le Carre's rich character development and the striking visual tableaux of Coppola (whose touch is seen throughout), Shepherd takes quiet control of the viewer's emotions, drawing us into a relentless, addictive web of conspiracy that, at the end, leaves us drained and needing more. This magnificent movie more resembles The Constant Gardner than Casino Royale, and requires an alert mind and attention to detail. When it is over, it is difficult to determine which is more brilliant, Eric Roth's screenplay, or its beautiful, calculating execution. One of the 10 best of the past 10 years! Expand
  3. DanB.
    Apr 14, 2007
    9
    It is slow but never boring. I don't really get why it wasn't better liked. I have a feeling, too, that if you dig into it It is slow but never boring. I don't really get why it wasn't better liked. I have a feeling, too, that if you dig into it you'll find a lot of irony and no clear answers. (Which is a good thing, or, in this case it is.) About the only fault I can think of is, perhaps, in one scene with Ulysses, the music kicks up a bit too loud and there's a sense of too much 'drama' schmaltzed on to the scene, as if the director wasn't sure the point would come across without the music. But it's a small thing. Overall I found it absorbing from the get go. Expand
  4. HaroldW.
    Jan 13, 2007
    7
    Matt Damon had only one expression during the whole movie and Angelina although obviously good looking needs some acting lessons.
  5. TonyB.
    Jun 10, 2007
    5
    Not nearly as good as some think it is and certainly not as bad as others see it, "The Good Shepherd" plods along at a snail-like pace as it Not nearly as good as some think it is and certainly not as bad as others see it, "The Good Shepherd" plods along at a snail-like pace as it jumps from one plot line to another. Expand
  6. ArthurB,Author
    Jan 2, 2007
    4
    The film keeps changing pace by going back and forth as trying to mix up the viewer into thinking and trying to make some reasonable story The film keeps changing pace by going back and forth as trying to mix up the viewer into thinking and trying to make some reasonable story that keeps you confused too find out what is going on. The only thing that is impressive is the control of Damons 'Poker" face. 8 Stars up for that. My opinion is that I should have saved my money and rented a funny DVD. Expand
  7. JeffA.
    Jan 2, 2007
    0
    Honestly, I've never seen so many people walk out of a movie. What a waste of a wonderful cast. Once again, I was fooled by the critics. Honestly, I've never seen so many people walk out of a movie. What a waste of a wonderful cast. Once again, I was fooled by the critics. They got my hard earned cash. I can save you all 3 hours of your life. Here's the entire film in 3 words. Trust no one. Go watch Departed or 007 for the second time instead. Expand

See all 84 User Reviews

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