MONEYBALL (Rated PG-13 for locker-room language): It's yet another film based on a true situation, one still familiar to baseball fans: the fall & rise of the Oakland A's in 2002, thanks to an unpopular method of choosing players and saving money - attributed to Billy Beane, (Brad Pitt) a former ball player who was badly treated under the traditional system and then went on to become GM (general manager) for the A's - and with the aid of Yale grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), leaves behind the old methods of a handful of older expert scouts to operate with a new system of values, trusting Brand and his computer to recognize winners on a totally different scale of characteristics - and get twhat he wants on the cheap.
Beane fights everyone including the team manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), relying on the fact that he may not always be right, but he's always the boss. Radiating confidence on the outside, but roiling with tension inside, he throws all he's got into working his system - and, as we may remember, he wins.
Based on truth or not, the movie is compelling drama with Bennett Miller directing Steven Zaillian's & Aaron Sorkin's script (from a story by Stan Chervin & the book by Michael Lewis; he controls his cast with a perfect view of the overall sense of conflict, of the desire to win at any cost, and with a clear eye in coaching his cast through some difficult scenes of great tension. He is abetted by Wally Pfister's beautifully controlled filming, from scenes of excitement at the games to explosive expressions in extreme close-up. Christopher Tellefsen's editing is exceptionally important, simplifying the flow of a confusion of pieces of information through the entire133-minutes (that fly by easily)!
Pitt, who also co-produced the film, plays the lead roll (which at one time reminds us of a mature Tom Cruise, but another of Robert Redford, runs away with his role. He portrays a mature person who conceals the devils combating within him by revealing outwardly only a superior way of thinking and the courage of his convictions in acting out against unending odds. He makes the movie shine, right down to his final, surprising decision. (Grade: A-)