User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 155
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  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 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 beThe 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. HelenM.
    Jan 1, 2007
    9
    Thought-provoking, intense movie with Matt Damon's performance deserving of an oscar. The complexity of the character and the moral implications of the story deserves this high rating.
  3. KlunkoJ
    Jan 19, 2010
    4
    The Good Shepherd certainly isn
  4. WolfiefishM.
    Mar 19, 2007
    4
    A film about how the CIA was formed out of dodgy dealings and shadey characters with vested interests. Tell us something we don't know. This film was a pancake disguised as a fancy crepe, with Jolie as the chocolate sauce that covered the banana that is Damon. DeNiro added one too many eggs into this mixture. He must of thought that by adding a bit of cheddar he would give it a A film about how the CIA was formed out of dodgy dealings and shadey characters with vested interests. Tell us something we don't know. This film was a pancake disguised as a fancy crepe, with Jolie as the chocolate sauce that covered the banana that is Damon. DeNiro added one too many eggs into this mixture. He must of thought that by adding a bit of cheddar he would give it a savoury flavour, but instead we were exposed to too many cheesy moments. Too many cooks spoilt the pancake. (I fell asleep at one point, I might have missed the best bit). Expand
  5. SethW.
    Apr 6, 2007
    9
    Don't understand why so many people and critics didn't get into this. It does demand a certain intellectual curiosity and understanding of history, but outside of that I didn't think it was slow or uninteresting at all. I was impressed with everything about it.
  6. J.S.
    Feb 1, 2008
    0
    To a teenager, this would be (and it is) an extremely boring movie. The movie focuses on one thing: a man and his boring life as a CIA operative. Although, it is intended for older audiences, but it doesn't please the action-movie goers who look for spy shootouts, automatic pick-ups of beautiful women, and, of course, a diabolical villain. Not a good choice to buy or rent. I made To a teenager, this would be (and it is) an extremely boring movie. The movie focuses on one thing: a man and his boring life as a CIA operative. Although, it is intended for older audiences, but it doesn't please the action-movie goers who look for spy shootouts, automatic pick-ups of beautiful women, and, of course, a diabolical villain. Not a good choice to buy or rent. I made this mistake. Expand
  7. JohnD.
    Dec 25, 2006
    10
    This is an exceptional motion picture that might be lost on the majority of today's movie audience unfortunately. An intriguing story and a fascinating historical background, filmed with beautiful camera work and a great musical score. Some great performances from the cast make this one of the best films of the year. I'm actually surprised by its lukewarm critical reception; This is an exceptional motion picture that might be lost on the majority of today's movie audience unfortunately. An intriguing story and a fascinating historical background, filmed with beautiful camera work and a great musical score. Some great performances from the cast make this one of the best films of the year. I'm actually surprised by its lukewarm critical reception; critics are often accused of being out touch with the general audience, but this time, it seems as if The Good Shepherd was even too sophisticated for them. Expand
  8. edb.
    Dec 30, 2006
    10
    Intriging, suspensful through out, For those who did not like it perhaps they did not want to think. Matt Damon was teriffic.
  9. Rev.Rikard
    Jan 13, 2007
    10
    The fall from heaven to earth is only a decision away; a decision of allegence. DeNiro reveals that humanity has fallen from truth into delusion, honor into shame, from passion into a plastic-existence. As much as we find it easier to create a dichotomy for humanity of light and darkness, DeNiro reveals in this great film that we live in murkier, more confusing waters than that. Those The fall from heaven to earth is only a decision away; a decision of allegence. DeNiro reveals that humanity has fallen from truth into delusion, honor into shame, from passion into a plastic-existence. As much as we find it easier to create a dichotomy for humanity of light and darkness, DeNiro reveals in this great film that we live in murkier, more confusing waters than that. Those representing a nation's belief in its goodness appear plastic, emtionless, secretive while the darkness of the "bad guys" lurks beneath. This movie leaves us asking, "Is allegence to a nation a high and noble trait, or is there just as much darkness as in the clandestine world that challenges that nation's values?" Is it noble to sacrifice passion, truth and life for any cause other than love in its purest expression? This film leaves the viewer with the belief that genuine love cannot coexist with allegence to anything or anyone that stands in contrast and contradiction to that love. Damon perfectly plays the role of the passionless man who no longer knows how to live, as Jolie represents the challenge to such a life. Yes, it is long and plodding, but so is the fall into utter delusion. "First there is country, then God." Expand
  10. JoeFi.
    Jan 1, 2007
    3
    Very slow moving, confusing. While it has an impressive list of stars they are all rather wooden in their performances especially Damon whom I like a lot but not in this pic. He wanders through this film as a morose character wearing a felt hat and rain coat carrying a briefcase that looks almost too heavy. De Niro and Joe Pesce don't comprise 10 minutes of screen time. All in all, Very slow moving, confusing. While it has an impressive list of stars they are all rather wooden in their performances especially Damon whom I like a lot but not in this pic. He wanders through this film as a morose character wearing a felt hat and rain coat carrying a briefcase that looks almost too heavy. De Niro and Joe Pesce don't comprise 10 minutes of screen time. All in all, way too long. The only word that comes to mind to accurately describe this film is tedious. Expand
  11. AliceF.
    Jan 1, 2007
    7
    Complicated and intriguing, somewhat plodding but entertaining. Matt Damon could have had a little bit more personality, he was directed to be too flat, he appears to have a personality disorder.
  12. 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. 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.
  13. PaulL.
    Jan 3, 2007
    8
    You really get a great sense of unease and mistrust that surrounds the lives of modern day spies. It's a long movie, but it needed to be long to give us the depth that is required of this film. Matt Damon is truly excellent in this film despite looking too young to be an older man. He plays the laconic yet deep thinking protagonist perfectly. You truly get a sense of how these men You really get a great sense of unease and mistrust that surrounds the lives of modern day spies. It's a long movie, but it needed to be long to give us the depth that is required of this film. Matt Damon is truly excellent in this film despite looking too young to be an older man. He plays the laconic yet deep thinking protagonist perfectly. You truly get a sense of how these men utterly give up their lives to serve their country without ever being able to confide or reveal their true selves to anyone and without ever expecting any kind of recognition for their sacrafice nor influence on our lives. Expand
  14. DWilly
    Jan 6, 2007
    2
    As the movie got started and was immediately bad, I sat there thinking, what an odd story for Robert DeNiro, a man of limited intellect and scope, to direct. And the script is terrible. You can tell a lot of money was spent on the technical aspects and storyboarding and all, but it is corny, inhuman and nearly all the performances are poor. It's frightening to hear Damon sing the As the movie got started and was immediately bad, I sat there thinking, what an odd story for Robert DeNiro, a man of limited intellect and scope, to direct. And the script is terrible. You can tell a lot of money was spent on the technical aspects and storyboarding and all, but it is corny, inhuman and nearly all the performances are poor. It's frightening to hear Damon sing the praises of DeNiro's direction in interviews and think he'll continue this approach in the future; because it nearly obliterated his talent. As a sidenote, having thought DeNiro's acting itself was of such poor quality these last years because he was phoning it in, it was stunning to learn that, even in a project you knew he would want to come off well, his acting is now bad. Expand
  15. AJ
    Jan 6, 2007
    0
    This movie was boring, tedious, confusing, and slow. There, I said it. It's no thriller, and the drama is forced. The directing is horrible (2 words surrounded by 30 second pad of silence is not a dialog). The writing was painful. Instead of give us meaningful dialog, whenever there's a sex scene (roughly 4 or 5 I think) It always goes like this: him: stone faced her: "Do you This movie was boring, tedious, confusing, and slow. There, I said it. It's no thriller, and the drama is forced. The directing is horrible (2 words surrounded by 30 second pad of silence is not a dialog). The writing was painful. Instead of give us meaningful dialog, whenever there's a sex scene (roughly 4 or 5 I think) It always goes like this: him: stone faced her: "Do you want (stay/get a room)?" him: "Do you want me to?" her: "very much so" and then a brief sex scene. I don't mean to offend anyone, but this movie is for old people. The pace is slow, there is very little visual distraction or movement. It's based in the 40's and 60's, and did portray a lot of the "good ol days" when America was young and strong. After the movie was over, I looked through the theater and everyone was over 60 -- except me, at 26. Unless you're retired, think twice about watching this movie. Expand
  16. BitBurn
    Jan 7, 2007
    7
    It was alright. A little slow at the beginning and a bit confusing too but the pace picks up. Damon's performance was strong and the rest of the cast as well. Was great to see Joe Pesci again!
  17. DanZ.
    Mar 26, 2007
    9
    Everyone that gave this movie below a 5 is a complete moron. This movie is not for 13 year olds wanting to see Terminator. If you have the patience to appreciate some great acting, notably on Damon's part, then you will love it. Moreover, its the subtleties of the movie that make it great, not Americans blowing shit up left and right and saving the world from evil. Shows you how Everyone that gave this movie below a 5 is a complete moron. This movie is not for 13 year olds wanting to see Terminator. If you have the patience to appreciate some great acting, notably on Damon's part, then you will love it. Moreover, its the subtleties of the movie that make it great, not Americans blowing shit up left and right and saving the world from evil. Shows you how stupid people are. Expand
  18. JohnO.
    Apr 11, 2007
    6
    I don't think this is a bad film or, as some viewers have said, a mess. It just lacks the artistry and depth of the films it is aspiring to, such as The Godfather II. Ultimately, poor character development and De Niro's inability to change pace and provide tension at key moments left me feeling that although it was watchable, in the hands of a more capable director it might have I don't think this is a bad film or, as some viewers have said, a mess. It just lacks the artistry and depth of the films it is aspiring to, such as The Godfather II. Ultimately, poor character development and De Niro's inability to change pace and provide tension at key moments left me feeling that although it was watchable, in the hands of a more capable director it might have been memorable. Expand
  19. 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 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 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
  20. MattK.
    Apr 7, 2007
    3
    This was a terrible movie!! I have no clue what happened. I watch movies all the time and I can honestly say that this is only the second film that I found impossible to follow. The first was a David Lynch film! Dinero should stick to acting. If anyone can PLEASE tell me anything about what happened in this movie, I'd appreciate it.
  21. PnArdyPnArdy
    May 13, 2007
    8
    I would call it a great movie with espionage and political flavor. Dull and long as it may seem, it realistically portrays the early history of CIA through the eyes of main character. "We've got the United States. The rest of you are just visitors", "The Agency comes first, God second" - the film features many brilliant taglines and outstanding cast. However, Matt Damon looks too I would call it a great movie with espionage and political flavor. Dull and long as it may seem, it realistically portrays the early history of CIA through the eyes of main character. "We've got the United States. The rest of you are just visitors", "The Agency comes first, God second" - the film features many brilliant taglines and outstanding cast. However, Matt Damon looks too young both for the position of CIA director and for the role of father. Expand
  22. NickE
    May 8, 2007
    4
    This was a poor film and not worth the time and effort of following it (and before anyone says anything about my taste in films, my 2 favorites in the past year have been "Zodiac" and "Inland Empire"). It is beautifully shot, but it has no discernable plot; though it's oriented around a what-if concerning a CIA leak and the Bay of Pigs, most of the 3 hours is spent in tangents away This was a poor film and not worth the time and effort of following it (and before anyone says anything about my taste in films, my 2 favorites in the past year have been "Zodiac" and "Inland Empire"). It is beautifully shot, but it has no discernable plot; though it's oriented around a what-if concerning a CIA leak and the Bay of Pigs, most of the 3 hours is spent in tangents away from this storyline, to the point that you forget about it until you're reminded again. These tangents (the old college flame, is the defector who he says he is, Pesci's character) are presented as subplots, but they're all so abbreviated that none of them goes anywhere. A film like this can work if the characters are compelling; however, other than Damon, everyone in the film is on-screen so briefly that they feel like stick figures rather than human beings. And Damon, whom I usually like, plays his role with such emotional restraint that it's not clear that the events of the film have any effect on him. Insofar as the movie lacks a clear plot and fleshed-out characters, and that it asks you to identify with a protagonist who's both unlikable and improbably inhuman, it just doesn't work. Expand
  23. 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 jumps from one plot line to another.
  24. NickName
    Jun 18, 2007
    2
    ZZZZZZ.... Sorry fell asleep just thinking about the boring movie. I just rented the DVD good thing they trimmed off the extra 16 minutes of yet another subplot or I would have wasted over 3 hours of my life. Angelina
  25. BrunoA
    Jul 29, 2007
    9
    I only just saw The Good Shepherd, some weeks after its release here in France. I thought it was excellent. Was anyone else struck by the importance of father/son relationships in the film? I agree that Matt Damon doesn't look old enough to be a father (at his son's wedding, for example), and that his character is emotionally cold and totally unfatherly. But so many I only just saw The Good Shepherd, some weeks after its release here in France. I thought it was excellent. Was anyone else struck by the importance of father/son relationships in the film? I agree that Matt Damon doesn't look old enough to be a father (at his son's wedding, for example), and that his character is emotionally cold and totally unfatherly. But so many relationships in the film were based on this theme, or on the theme of abandonment by the father. Maybe I'm just projecting my own issues, but I found the film all the richer for this. Expand
  26. TomM.
    Jul 5, 2007
    3
    A movie tracing the early origins and eventual development of what we now know as the CIA, with performances by Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, and Alec Baldwin--including bit parts by Timothy Dalton and Joe Pesci--certainly appears to have the elements of a very promising and intriguing film that couldn't possibly miss. Yet, that's precisely what A movie tracing the early origins and eventual development of what we now know as the CIA, with performances by Robert DeNiro, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, William Hurt, and Alec Baldwin--including bit parts by Timothy Dalton and Joe Pesci--certainly appears to have the elements of a very promising and intriguing film that couldn't possibly miss. Yet, that's precisely what happens here. Muddled dialogue in scene after scene, baffling story structure, one serious case of miscasting (Eddie Redmayne as the main character's son), unreadable graphics, and film editing that must have been phoned in all combine for a major disappointment. Strangely, after I viewed it, I couldn't help thinking of Ted Williams, who many believe to be the greatest hitter of all time, yet he was a surprising flop as a manager. Could it be that DeNiro, who many consider our finest living actor, is doomed to the same fate when it comes to directing? Hey, Bobby, give Scorsese a call. Expand
  27. Sam
    Aug 4, 2007
    9
    This film -- which I watched again last night for a second time -- is clearly not your typical spy thriller movie that many reviewers seem to have expected. It's too bad that more people don't have patience for careful filmmaking, thoughful exposition, great acting, and extraordinary ambiguity. This is the genius of the story and how DeNiro realized it. What many seem to This film -- which I watched again last night for a second time -- is clearly not your typical spy thriller movie that many reviewers seem to have expected. It's too bad that more people don't have patience for careful filmmaking, thoughful exposition, great acting, and extraordinary ambiguity. This is the genius of the story and how DeNiro realized it. What many seem to complain about -- it is slow, it is enigmatic, it is confusing, it is even dull -- is true, in the same sense that reading LeCarre is slow, enigmatic, confusing, and even dull. But let that not detract from a powerful evocation -- a much truer evocation than most "spy" movies -- of what espionage is all about, and the true human emotions that must be faced and overcome (or not) by a protagonist in Wilson (Damon's) position. This is a psychological thriller of great magnitude that probably suffered by being marketed as a spy movie. Painstakingly made, detailed, and very true to the human experience if not the Bond one. I like Bond, and Bourne, but for gut-wrenching truth, give me more movies like this. A tour de force. Damon is terrific, Angelina Jolie perfectly cast as either the jilted spouse or the conniving college girl ensuring her future by entrapping a promising husband. She's both. It's an enigma -- the movie is an enigma, and life is an enigma. Nothing is what it seems to anyone at the time -- and this is perfectly conveyed throughout this excellent movie. Expand
  28. TedK.
    Jun 20, 2008
    8
    A very good movie if you're in the right mood for it (cerebral, patient). Hard to follow, but that's part of the charm (and it's not a mess like Syriana). The bulk of it will be comprehensible in one viewing, but it took a second time for me to catch some of the stuff.
  29. SteveB.
    Dec 23, 2006
    6
    It creates the illusion and setting and atmosphere of a thriller--but there aren't any thrills. Other than the history of Matt Damon's career in the CIA and of his marriage, the only thiller plot line involves trying to decrypt a piece of intelligence, which can be figured out by the end and is only of minor interest.
  30. VanB.
    Dec 27, 2006
    1
    Slow, boring. No action, very little suspense or intrigue. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen every interesting moment in the movie. Can sum up the story line in a sentence or two: Anyone who works for the CIA is evil/corrupt, or becomes evil/corrupt eventually if they work there long enough. That's what happens when you are overly patriotic, so beware of patriotism!
  31. SteveP.
    Dec 29, 2006
    3
    So over the top that it becomes laughable. Great acting, but the directing is trying way too hard. The silence as subtlety is so beyond the pale. You can almost hear the director shouting, "give me nothing." Angelina is great as usual, though under used. It left me wishing for the movie I thought I was paying to see. They keep trying for complexity and wind up with an almost laughable one So over the top that it becomes laughable. Great acting, but the directing is trying way too hard. The silence as subtlety is so beyond the pale. You can almost hear the director shouting, "give me nothing." Angelina is great as usual, though under used. It left me wishing for the movie I thought I was paying to see. They keep trying for complexity and wind up with an almost laughable one dimensional baddness. Expand
  32. StuartI.
    Dec 30, 2006
    9
    Excellent movie whose ambiguities resonate with our times.
  33. 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 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 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
  34. RobS.
    Dec 30, 2006
    8
    I wish I could say it was a masterpiece. I tried to look past the fact that the movie lacks movement. I like the intentions of the producers, but editing plays a part in making movies strong or great. The film needs a climax - it builds and builds, but falls short. I still like the intrigue and style of the movie. Most movies these days only get climaxes, and no real crescendo. I wish I could say it was a masterpiece. I tried to look past the fact that the movie lacks movement. I like the intentions of the producers, but editing plays a part in making movies strong or great. The film needs a climax - it builds and builds, but falls short. I still like the intrigue and style of the movie. Most movies these days only get climaxes, and no real crescendo. Nevertheless, the allure and acting of Jolie and Damon's presence cannot be discounted. Expand
  35. MoeS.
    Jan 1, 2007
    9
    Probably the first truthful movie in years (about American history anyway) , yet its greatest weakness is that its story arc is not allowed to go where the "conspiracy theorists" want it to go, namely, to the JFK assassination and beyond. Its greatest strength is that it need not go there once one understands that there are no moral absolutes when it comes to politics. To render so much Probably the first truthful movie in years (about American history anyway) , yet its greatest weakness is that its story arc is not allowed to go where the "conspiracy theorists" want it to go, namely, to the JFK assassination and beyond. Its greatest strength is that it need not go there once one understands that there are no moral absolutes when it comes to politics. To render so much truth in one movie is a marvel to behold, I only wish we lived in a world where we did not need to be so covert in its telling. But perhaps this all the more delightful for those who do know. I give it a 9 because it lacks the ability to speak to those who are not so well informed. It is too inaccessible to ever get the "great classic" status of The Godfather. This is a shame. But since I am not a great film maker (or any kind of a film maker) I cannot be sure that the complexity and lack of broad appeal is something that could be better handled by another director or if it is intrinsic to the subject matter. Either way this is a movie which will be studied by many students (of history, film, English Lit etc) for years to come. I look forward to the DVD in order to give it the close attention it deserves. Expand
  36. TommyF.
    Jan 1, 2007
    10
    A chilling tableau and a precisely revealing movie "The Good Shepherd" is not for those who want to experience action. This is a thinking man's perspective on the establishment of the CIA out of the OSS - created for international counterintelligence during WWII. The film is experienced much like reading a Kazuo Ishiguro novel (Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go) composed of A chilling tableau and a precisely revealing movie "The Good Shepherd" is not for those who want to experience action. This is a thinking man's perspective on the establishment of the CIA out of the OSS - created for international counterintelligence during WWII. The film is experienced much like reading a Kazuo Ishiguro novel (Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go) composed of carefully fragile pieces of character and circumstance leading to its conclusion more through experience and observation than through explanation. Far from a Bond's movie or Damon's own Bourne franchise, the intrigue is played out like a chess game based on political maneuvers, power plays and most of all the manipulation of human behavior. Although Damon plays a cold hearted silent and stoic agent he delivers an incredibly effective performance through the smallest of gestures and expressions; his eyes are our window to his soul which, almost without human form, is at war with itself as much as the U.S and Russia are in its own cold war. Damon creates a character unlike any I have ever seen on screen; at the same time that he is us and we see the world and our responsibilities through him we revile him and are chilled to the bone by his stare. He is the ideological good guy and the practical bad guy wrapped up in one serving as the story's political metaphor for our Country's sad and confusing condition of unintended consequences. In fine execution of understated British acting, Billy Crudup (?) as Damon's mentor shows us that the espionage game is for young men and John Turturro creates a rich and believable character with just enough weakness to show us the moral consequences that an average man's actions can cause if he is willing to follow without questioning in the name of the State. The visual references of his behavior to the conflict in Iraq is not the least bit subtle. It is good to see William Hurt back in fine form and small parts by Joe Pesce and DiNiro himself are excellent in adding to the fabric of the movie. Finally, although Jolie has received praise for her work in the film I did not find that she created any particular depth of character although, to be fair, the role is superfluous to the movie. This is not a Robert Stone movie. It is a deep, sensitive, philosophical inquiry into the political, moral, and human aspects of espionage. Expand
  37. Bruce
    Nov 29, 2007
    6
    Marginally better than average cold war spy movie. I don't think Damon is a very lively actor at the best of times, but he works out okay here as a colorless government man. Jolie seems kind of wasted in what's a relatively minor role. I enjoyed the spy intrigue but thought the acting was somewhat flat in spots, and felt that some important plot points were not telegraphed well. Marginally better than average cold war spy movie. I don't think Damon is a very lively actor at the best of times, but he works out okay here as a colorless government man. Jolie seems kind of wasted in what's a relatively minor role. I enjoyed the spy intrigue but thought the acting was somewhat flat in spots, and felt that some important plot points were not telegraphed well. Overall, a 6 out of 10. Expand
  38. JaneL.
    Jan 13, 2007
    10
    The film is structured around the time it takes to analyse a murky intelligence photo of the protagonist's son. The analysts have trouble understanding the photo. It is the photo that functions like Proust's madeleine cookie in the tea. This is real film-making. Obviously, a sophisticated audience is de rigueur. The portrait of the wasp in the fifties and in his fifties prior to The film is structured around the time it takes to analyse a murky intelligence photo of the protagonist's son. The analysts have trouble understanding the photo. It is the photo that functions like Proust's madeleine cookie in the tea. This is real film-making. Obviously, a sophisticated audience is de rigueur. The portrait of the wasp in the fifties and in his fifties prior to the sixties "de-repression" of society is very apt. These people are like that. And they are still in power. The film is a brilliant depiction of how unresolved issues just get pushed down the generations. The main character only reads the letter from his father who committed suicide when his own son is in trouble. This movie is not a thriller and anyone who expects one will be disappointment. It is fantastic film-making and blends the social with the personal in a very convincing manner. Bravo, de Niro. Expand
  39. ChrisW.
    Jan 13, 2007
    10
    Espionage at its' finest! An amazing journey, splendid story, and a cast that does the story justice. Thanks Bobby! You are the man!
  40. 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 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.
  41. ReidF.
    Jan 27, 2007
    5
    While intellectually interesting, this film could have benefited from losing an hour, tightening up the plot lines, and finding a lead actor who really looks and acts the age that Matt Damon's character is supposed to be.
  42. KateTheSkate
    Feb 8, 2007
    10
    After reading preceding comments, I think the lower scores may be partly due to younger age. Having lived through the Bay of Pigs, etc., the "living backdrop" is built into those of us over 45-50. So, the character played by Matt Damon is as familiar as our remembered family dinner table, or most of the "authority figures" we grew up with (under). So refreshing to have to think while After reading preceding comments, I think the lower scores may be partly due to younger age. Having lived through the Bay of Pigs, etc., the "living backdrop" is built into those of us over 45-50. So, the character played by Matt Damon is as familiar as our remembered family dinner table, or most of the "authority figures" we grew up with (under). So refreshing to have to think while watching a movie. Lately, if we're lucky, we're usually only expected to carry an unexplained detail or two in our heads for 30 minutes, leading up to it's reveal. In this film, we are challenged to carry whole plots, visual references, audio clues (the Spanish word for pig) and patterns picked up in childhood. I think entertainment is being mentally challenged. Expand
  43. AaronM.
    Apr 11, 2007
    3
    This movie is long and very slow paced. Though the movie has great intentions and a great cast, it is rarely engaging and walks the line between drama and documentary.
  44. DeniseP.
    Apr 12, 2007
    5
    Extremely hard to follow; too many details omitted. To fully understand this film, I would have to watch it twice. However, I couldn't sit through two sittings.
  45. AllistairP.
    Apr 28, 2007
    4
    You know how some great films no matter how great they are feel too long at the 3 hour mark (except absolute masterpieces like The Departed and Almost Famous)? Imagine that film except it starts to drag at the 15 minute mark. This would have been absolute hell if I had to sit through it at the theater and I am so grateful I saw it on DVD and shut it off immediately.
  46. IndyraG.
    Apr 8, 2007
    3
    An episodic mess with no central narrative thread and completely devoid of compelling characters. The actors deliberately underplay their roles and mumble through most of their lines, which are in turn drowned out by the wall-to-wall ominous soundtrack that's meant to be foreboding and ends up anything but. You can put a lot of talented actors on screen and throw money at them, but An episodic mess with no central narrative thread and completely devoid of compelling characters. The actors deliberately underplay their roles and mumble through most of their lines, which are in turn drowned out by the wall-to-wall ominous soundtrack that's meant to be foreboding and ends up anything but. You can put a lot of talented actors on screen and throw money at them, but that does not guarantee a good movie. What a mess. Expand
  47. PatC.
    May 7, 2007
    7
    A laborious but undeniably intelligent expose of the career path of a counterintelligence operative.
  48. MarkK.
    Jun 17, 2007
    3
    An intelligent spy film made without intelligence. There are numerous scenes and subplot lines that if they were cut would have improved the movie. The subplots really don't improve the main plot line, as do many of the characters. For its 148 minute running time, it asks too much and delivers too little. If it were cut to just under 2 hours, it would have been much better.
  49. KasparH.
    Jul 2, 2007
    1
    Why no mention of the milestone Mohammed Mossadegh overthrow in Iran? Matt Damon cast as the spy-master was a comical touch. Crispin Glover should have had that role.
  50. GailF.
    Aug 11, 2007
    10
    The Good Sheppard is complex and fooregoes spy thriller techniques in order to accurately portray an organization embedded inScull and Bones and capable of anything, and destructive to the welfare of this country.
  51. DonnaB.
    Jun 10, 2008
    9
    Every viewing reveals new revelations of understanding. What prevented the press from ranking this polished, gripping film at least three stars? Why the paltry two?
  52. DavF.
    Dec 21, 2006
    4
    Slow; frequent time shifting makes film a little hard to follow; key lines swallowed, so hard to understand; dim-lit scenes overdone; some parts illogical or irrelevant and movie thus too long; Damon character as portrayed not entirely credible
  53. WiliamB.
    Dec 23, 2006
    10
    This is a masterpiece! It may not work for the TV zombies who can't handle nuance and moral ambiguity but it is brilliant. I am confident that if W saw this he would be totally befuddled. No wonder our foriegn policy is in the gutter.
  54. FedUp
    Dec 23, 2006
    2
    Great actors but about as inspirational to the viewer as watching moss grow on a rock.
  55. TommyD.
    Dec 23, 2006
    10
    This is an intense movie. That can't be overstated. If you go in to this movie expecting any light moments, then you won't like it. Be sure to go to the bathroom before the movie starts because if you go during the movie, you will be lost when you come back. That being said, for those who go in expecting a DeNiro film will definitely get their money's worth. The intsensity This is an intense movie. That can't be overstated. If you go in to this movie expecting any light moments, then you won't like it. Be sure to go to the bathroom before the movie starts because if you go during the movie, you will be lost when you come back. That being said, for those who go in expecting a DeNiro film will definitely get their money's worth. The intsensity never lets up and you will be gripping the edge of your seats for the whole three hours. Collapse
  56. BillyS.
    Dec 24, 2006
    9
    Robert DeNiro may have worked with Martin Scorcese on eight films, but it looks like he picked up a lot more from working once with Francis Ford Coppolla. The Good Shepherd is an astonishing motion picture that presents a grand and epic story of the CIA much the same as The Godfather portrayed the Mafia. It is long but deliberate, always tense and by the end you don't trust anyone Robert DeNiro may have worked with Martin Scorcese on eight films, but it looks like he picked up a lot more from working once with Francis Ford Coppolla. The Good Shepherd is an astonishing motion picture that presents a grand and epic story of the CIA much the same as The Godfather portrayed the Mafia. It is long but deliberate, always tense and by the end you don't trust anyone sitting in the theatre with you, much less not knowing who to trust on the screen! Matt Damon does the best work of his carreer and is the foundation for the fine supporting performances by Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, John Turturro, Joe Pesci, Michael Gambon and Mr. DeNiro himself. The Good Shepherd is a Classic Spy thriller, soaked in paranoia and swimming in distrust and secret glances. This is a Great Film: Trust Me. Expand
  57. SonnyW
    Dec 25, 2006
    10
    It's a masterpiece. Congratulations to Mr. De Niro for creating such a fine work of art. And shame to all the so called critics who wrote garbage about it. Screw you all. You all wish you made this film. De Niro is a courageous artist. Finally there is a film THAT MATTERS!!! The slow, heavy pace was perfect choice. Timing was amazing. It still rings inside me. Why was it not It's a masterpiece. Congratulations to Mr. De Niro for creating such a fine work of art. And shame to all the so called critics who wrote garbage about it. Screw you all. You all wish you made this film. De Niro is a courageous artist. Finally there is a film THAT MATTERS!!! The slow, heavy pace was perfect choice. Timing was amazing. It still rings inside me. Why was it not nominated across the board is beyond me but at the same time; the film industry reflects the political reality of our times. More comformists are voting than visionaries. Amazing storytelling -- all, the script, performances, directing, cinematography, sounds and music. Congratulations again. Expand
  58. ChristinaT
    Dec 28, 2006
    5
    Maybe I just didn't get the movie (I didn't know anything about it before I went) even though I do enjoy American History, but I found it slow and boring. I could have easily walked out but my husband enjoyed it. I couldn't get into any of the characters and the scenes jumped around too much.
  59. ConnieM.
    Dec 28, 2006
    9
    Really excellent, realistic and heart wrenching. Excellent acting, excellent story. Not the normal fun, light-hearted spy movie, but one that makes you think.
  60. LukeTheDuke
    Dec 28, 2006
    3
    Really lame. Angelina alone is great for 1/3 of the movie, and after that there is nothing credible or believable. All the stars could not save this dog. A slow, tedious, tale about characters none of whom are worth caring one hoot about.
  61. kellyp.
    Dec 29, 2006
    5
    Plodding, mumbling and in dire need of editing.
  62. JohnnyB.
    Dec 30, 2006
    1
    Decent movie, but at times confusing and difficult to follow. Once this mvie comes to DVD nobody will understand it, as it is too long (3 hours), and you have to pay full attention to every detail of this movie or you will be completely lost.
  63. [Anonymous]
    Dec 31, 2006
    5
    Very slow, overly long.
  64. fjftfgchfggfhfggf
    Dec 30, 2006
    8
    It was a bit confusing and it takes some deciphering by the audience, but overall it was well directed, and the last half hour is simply excellent. The person in the tape is mentioned in the movie, follow the hints.
  65. RoyE.
    Dec 7, 2006
    9
    Epic movie-great performances...little long but worth it in the end. Hurt is great, Damon is great and the Turturro waterboard scene is a classic. Definately won't win any makeup oscars that's for sure.
  66. 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.
  67. TJW.
    Feb 12, 2007
    8
    Robert De Niro's follow up to his directorial debut A Bronx Tale tells the story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of Edward Wilson. Wilson is a composite of a couple of the men who are thought to have started the CIA. The story cuts between Wilson's early years during World War II to his involvement in the Bay Of Pigs Invasion. De Niro creates an absolutely captivating Robert De Niro's follow up to his directorial debut A Bronx Tale tells the story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of Edward Wilson. Wilson is a composite of a couple of the men who are thought to have started the CIA. The story cuts between Wilson's early years during World War II to his involvement in the Bay Of Pigs Invasion. De Niro creates an absolutely captivating world that, if you have the patience, completely sucks you in. The acting in this film is absolutely top-notch. Damon gives a performance just as good as his job in The Departed, as the unbelievably stoic Wilson. Nothing gets to his character, even when he is "forced" to do despicable things. Turturro is great as Wilson's assistant, who does some truly terrible things because he is "following orders." Billy Crudup is great as Wilson's British counterpart, and Michael Gambon is especially intriguing as Wilson's mentor. A couple cameos (De Niro and Joe Pesci) round out a nearly flawless cast. Jolie is strangely stale here, and every time she was on-screen I was kind of hoping she would be gone. De Niro is a great filmmaker, and, while there are a few scenes that could easily have stayed on the cutting room floor, (this may have been a perfect movie at under 2 1/2 hours) this is still proof that De Niro, despite over thirty years in the business, is just getting started. Expand
  68. JuanF.
    Mar 21, 2007
    2
    Slooooow , great actors don't save a bad movie, but the worst isthat it's very antihistorical: Castro didn´t get or need an unlikely "leak" : U.S. government said they were going to invade, bombed Cuba and invaded two full days later and the invasion ships, (commercial banana cargos, white painted) took three days to reach Cuba!!!
  69. SteveS.
    Apr 15, 2007
    6
    To start a review with an insult of the other reviewers is a little tactless, but I couldn't resist a response to Dan Z. Dan, you make yourself look like a 13 year old boy with your swearing and sweeping generalizations. I found this movie emotionally detached and Damon was just too blank for me to care anything about him. Jolie was miscast as the meek housewife. Lots of the other To start a review with an insult of the other reviewers is a little tactless, but I couldn't resist a response to Dan Z. Dan, you make yourself look like a 13 year old boy with your swearing and sweeping generalizations. I found this movie emotionally detached and Damon was just too blank for me to care anything about him. Jolie was miscast as the meek housewife. Lots of the other performances were great but if you can't get interested in the central characters of a movie, it makes for an unsatisfactory experience. Expand
  70. TimoteuszD
    Dec 19, 2009
    10
    I didn't think much of it the first time I saw it. Slow, dull, too subdued, and the protagonist was quite un-dynamic. Then I watched it again, alone, and I was bowled over by the brilliance and craftsmanship of this movie. The fellow who apparently wanted a spy thriller with beautiful women and lots of action is faulting this movie for being different from what he wanted. He should I didn't think much of it the first time I saw it. Slow, dull, too subdued, and the protagonist was quite un-dynamic. Then I watched it again, alone, and I was bowled over by the brilliance and craftsmanship of this movie. The fellow who apparently wanted a spy thriller with beautiful women and lots of action is faulting this movie for being different from what he wanted. He should realize that this is a different genre of film from e.g. James Bond. This movie concerns the formation of a U.S. bureaucrat in the spy business, from college to middle age. The performances are all unbelievably perfect. Damon is subdued to the point of monotony, but on the second viewing you realize that that is the point. The U.S. spy industry is not full of derring-do but bureaucrats who have to put their work in front of their family and their souls. That is the point of the movie: the trade-offs that Damon must make. It is beautiful, sad, poignant, and in fact a perfect film. Highly recommended for a contemplative viewer who likes details and careful puzzling over clues, words, and gestures, as in a serious Soderbergh film. Expand
  71. PunguinYoga
    Feb 22, 2009
    8
    This is a movie for adults. I don't think it's supposed to be a burlesque, as most movies about spy craft are. Espionage is probably dull and unglamorous for the most part. Surely some of the other reviewers don't think James Bond is real, do they? A man like that should be killed by his own people in five minutes for drawing attention to himself! Anyway, I enjoyed this and This is a movie for adults. I don't think it's supposed to be a burlesque, as most movies about spy craft are. Espionage is probably dull and unglamorous for the most part. Surely some of the other reviewers don't think James Bond is real, do they? A man like that should be killed by his own people in five minutes for drawing attention to himself! Anyway, I enjoyed this and I just bought a new copy for only $6 at the local Kroger's. What a pleasure to see an understated movie about anything. Expand
  72. Kaitlin
    Jun 22, 2009
    10
    To say this movie is for old people is just excusing the fact that you simply did not have the patience or intellect to want to understand it. The younger generation would rather be entertained than challenged. Being 20 years old and someone who found this movie fascinating, I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in working for the government, like myself. Everyone in this To say this movie is for old people is just excusing the fact that you simply did not have the patience or intellect to want to understand it. The younger generation would rather be entertained than challenged. Being 20 years old and someone who found this movie fascinating, I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in working for the government, like myself. Everyone in this movie acted how men and women acted in this day. Superb movie. Expand
  73. AnnHC.
    Dec 18, 2006
    9
    This is a powerful movie and more sophisticated than some Americans may be in the mood for. De Niro films it almost at a European tempo, menacingly slow which makes the story like a heart breaking ballad that haunts you long after your hear it.
  74. KenK.
    Dec 23, 2006
    9
    Taut (Despite its length) and kept my interest throughout although I normally do not like spy movies. Damon, Jolie, Bladwin etc. were all very strong.
  75. DonW
    Dec 25, 2006
    3
    A real snoozefest.
  76. katherynh.
    Dec 25, 2006
    8
    It seems as if the average movie-goer (and critic) has become inured to certain films, unable to tolerate those promoting intelligent thought and requiring a certain stillness in order to experience it fully. "The Good Shepherd" is a film that exhibits the buttoned-down, internalized persona of its main character, Edward Wilson. I recommend one slow down and embed oneself into this It seems as if the average movie-goer (and critic) has become inured to certain films, unable to tolerate those promoting intelligent thought and requiring a certain stillness in order to experience it fully. "The Good Shepherd" is a film that exhibits the buttoned-down, internalized persona of its main character, Edward Wilson. I recommend one slow down and embed oneself into this adventure of paranoia and treachery. "Die-Hard" or "Deja-Vu" it isn't. Expand
  77. Nathanl.
    Dec 25, 2006
    10
    The Best Film of 2006!!! And that is saying very little. This is, as I'm sure you've heard, the best film of it's kind since the original Godfather. It's brilliantly deliberate, yet somber pace could have easily become a tedious bore. However, much like all of Francis Ford Coppola's films, (who clearly had more to do with this film than just fronting some money) The Best Film of 2006!!! And that is saying very little. This is, as I'm sure you've heard, the best film of it's kind since the original Godfather. It's brilliantly deliberate, yet somber pace could have easily become a tedious bore. However, much like all of Francis Ford Coppola's films, (who clearly had more to do with this film than just fronting some money) this film moves at a pace that draws you in frame by frame, scene by scene. This is a masterpiece of a spy film that makes you realize that all the action packed spy movies of the past are nothing compared to the fear, lies, secrets, torture, murder, betrayal, and (as in The Godfather) tolls it takes on the family. There is a lot to be told here and a lot of time that passes (about 30 years) without a single action scene or real bit of comedy. So, it is the brilliant performances of Matt Damon (who's understated performances deserves an Oscar nomination) and an all-star supporting team (Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, Angelina Jolie, Joe Pesci, Billy Crudup, etc.) that carry this film through dialogue alone. There are moments in this movie where characters just sit and stare at each other in uncomfortable silences as if truly contemplating there next word or wondering what the other person is going to say. The cinematography and score here are magnificently blended together in a way that neither particularly stand out any more than to service the mood of the film, just as they should. And the editing should also garnish Academy recognition for making a 3 hour movie of nothing but talking feel like a roller coaster ride. Lastly, I would like to give props to Robert De Niro who, in only his second trip behind the camera, has created the rebirth of one of the most stunning cimatic styles ever to grace the silver screen. If Francis doesn't feel like making movies anymore than he can use De Niro any day. Expand
  78. PaulK.
    Dec 26, 2006
    9
    It's long, sometimes sluggish and difficult to follow, but worth seeing despite it's flaws.
  79. robertx
    Dec 29, 2006
    8
    Some weak spots (including jolie's casting), but ultimately an absorbing look at a world in which you can't trust anone, including--and maybe most of all--yourself......icy and slow, but powerful.
  80. hollyc
    Dec 29, 2006
    6
    Well, sort of a mess, sort of not. The Good Shepherd is beautifully shot and well acted with plenty of intrigue. However, it just needed better direction (in post production) and/or editing at putting it all together. I'm sure there is a great movie in there someplace, but I don't think De Niro quite has the chops yet to put the whole story together as well as it needed to be Well, sort of a mess, sort of not. The Good Shepherd is beautifully shot and well acted with plenty of intrigue. However, it just needed better direction (in post production) and/or editing at putting it all together. I'm sure there is a great movie in there someplace, but I don't think De Niro quite has the chops yet to put the whole story together as well as it needed to be given the material. There's plenty of places in the film that were magnificent, but there's also an abundance of "meh"s and "wtf?" Matt Damon is really wonderful given how subtle a character he plays. I walked away really struck by how good he was (oscar-worthy even). Jolie, though touted as a main role in the film--isn't really---which was kind of a disappointment (heh). All the supporting actors were outstanding though (Turturro, Crudup, Baldwin--Timothy Hutton, De Niro and Pesci) It is a very long film, though I must admit, I never looked at my watch, but I did certainly leave a little frustrated at seeing how close this movie was to being a classic, yet falling short. But it's a worthy DVD rental, and a must-see for any CIA buffs, that's for sure. Expand
  81. ChristianZ.
    Dec 31, 2006
    7
    This is a film that, despite its flaws, you will find yourself mulling over long after its over. Damon is outstanding, giving a great mature performance that puts Good Will Hunting far behind him. In fact the entire cast to a man was teriffic. As for the ladies, well, few are featured. Jolie, one my least favorite actresses, actually is underused here. Her scenes where she shows her This is a film that, despite its flaws, you will find yourself mulling over long after its over. Damon is outstanding, giving a great mature performance that puts Good Will Hunting far behind him. In fact the entire cast to a man was teriffic. As for the ladies, well, few are featured. Jolie, one my least favorite actresses, actually is underused here. Her scenes where she shows her skills are too few. As for the plot of the film, well, like others who wrote here, there were moments where I was perplexed by a few scenes, even if they were masterfully handled in and of themselves. What was needed? Certainly tighter editing which would have allowed us to focus on two or three plot points instead of what seemed to be ten going on here. I love intricate, complex films that force me think and pay attention closely, but let me follow through on one thought before going somewhere else! Put it this way, it's like when your team marches down the football field and with two seconds left throws a wobbler into the end zone and there's a dispute about whether the player was in or out of bounds. Instead of carefully considering it, the ref just says the guy was out and walks away, leaving you confused and shocked. Expand
  82. BeefW.
    Dec 31, 2006
    10
    The absolute greatest disservice anyone can do this triumph in film is to watch it as an idiot. If it makes sense to me that a movie chronicling the exploits of the core agent in the most important intelligence agency of a country is going to require more than a dime's width of attention span to watch, then I need to be sitting in front of Clive Owen a few theaters down. The Good The absolute greatest disservice anyone can do this triumph in film is to watch it as an idiot. If it makes sense to me that a movie chronicling the exploits of the core agent in the most important intelligence agency of a country is going to require more than a dime's width of attention span to watch, then I need to be sitting in front of Clive Owen a few theaters down. The Good Shepherd is a powerful, dynamic work of art, and a damn masterpiece. It seems that most of its detractors would rather be watching movies. Expand
  83. Jan 25, 2015
    3
    On paper, The Good Shepherd is a can't miss film. I mean how could you go wrong with a film about the beginnings of the C.I.A., directed by Robert De Niro, and starring multiple Academy Award Winners? I was really excited about finally sitting down to watch this three hour epic, the critics raved about, but sadly, it the case of the Good Shepherd, it was the user reviews that were spot on.On paper, The Good Shepherd is a can't miss film. I mean how could you go wrong with a film about the beginnings of the C.I.A., directed by Robert De Niro, and starring multiple Academy Award Winners? I was really excited about finally sitting down to watch this three hour epic, the critics raved about, but sadly, it the case of the Good Shepherd, it was the user reviews that were spot on. Matt Damon portrays one of the C.I.A.'s top agents, a man whose life revolves around his work. The story is based on an investigation into what went wrong during the Bay of Pigs invasion, while at the same time flashing back to how Damon's character got his start in the spy agency. We see everything from his childhood trauma's to his recruitment in college, his actions in World War II, and everything else he did leading up to the Bay of Pigs. Matt Damon was absolutely the perfect choice to play Agent Edward Wilson, as his natural personality was a perfect fit for the characters. If Damon wasn't good enough, he's surrounded by a cast of Hollywood legends that any film would be hard pressed to duplicate, so why the low rating? Even the premise of the film was excellent, but it's downfall is in the story itself. The Good Shepherd is over three hours long and easily feels like it was double that, as the film moves at an absolute snails pace. While the story and the actors were phenomenal, the film itself is done in such a way that it's one long conversation after another, with little if any action in between. Every time an angle is built up, we're sent to the other part of the story and simply have to assume the conclusion, without actually seeing it. The lack of resolution wasn't the only issue, as the film's large cast comes back to haunt it. There are so many people in this movie that are all dressed the same, who all act the same, and who all look the same. I couldn't keep track of who was who. While the Good Shepherd has the makings of an award winning film, the truth is that everyone behind the scenes blew it. This film is much too long, much too slow, and much too confusing to ever be enjoyable, and personally I think it is one of the biggest disappointments to come along in a very long time. Expand
  84. Feb 10, 2012
    6
    The Good Shepherd might have made an interesting love story -- Damon's character's love for a deaf girl, from a presumably humdrum background, interrupted by the pushy, establishment Jolie character. But while the deaf girl wasn't thrown out of a plane (as another, and the only non-white character in the film, will be) she might as well have been. Instead we get -- history. But it's notThe Good Shepherd might have made an interesting love story -- Damon's character's love for a deaf girl, from a presumably humdrum background, interrupted by the pushy, establishment Jolie character. But while the deaf girl wasn't thrown out of a plane (as another, and the only non-white character in the film, will be) she might as well have been. Instead we get -- history. But it's not really history: more like Oliver Stone on downers. We get laughably stock KGB operatives, CIA self-aggrandizement ("CIA", not "the CIA"), wily Krauts and dutiful WASPs. Who, in one of the better throwaway lines of the film, own the United States of America, in case there was in any confusion on that point in the era of Barack Obama.

    It's a cliche, but I think a necessary one, that there is hardly a sympathetic character -- hardly a character -- in the film. The actual history of the CIA is fraught with failures thinking themselves noble, though, so perhaps this is an accurate depiction of its work after all. As a work of fiction it succeeds mostly in hinting at what it could have been.
    Expand
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Despite successfully creating the illusion of forbidden glimpses, The Good Shepherd slogs through most of its lengthy running time.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Deliberately paced, epic and ambitious, The Good Shepherd feels related in tone, mood and style to "The Godfather."