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. 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
  2. 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.
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  3. 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
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."