Like the game of baseball itself, Bennett Miller's Moneyball is mostly a slow-moving affair that picks up here and there, but carries a payoff that's well worth it for those who stuck the whole thing out.
Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian's script, while not one that always pops, does brim with ideas, the most prominent of which is the double-edged sword separating promise and result. Having been assured by smooth-talking scouts in his youth that he was destined to become a big league sensation, Beane is all too convinced that the promises based on intuition and judgment of character are worthless. But he's also frustrated to discover that the promises made by numbers and mathematics are equally unreliable, as his team gets off to a rocky start under his radical new regime. It's finding that sweet spot in the middle that proves to be Beane's biggest challenge, but potentially his biggest triumph.
Bennett Miller opts for a direction that's atypical to sports movie standards. Indeed, to call Moneyball a sports movie may be something of a stretch. There are only a few scenes showcasing the actual athletics of the game, and Miller sometimes distracts us with conspicuous interchanges between sound and silence. Otherwise, it's a finely crafted piece of work. Chris Tellefsen's editing finds a nice stride for itself, and Wally Pfister takes a break from his recent spree of action/thiller photography to shoot this picture with a more down-to-earth but no less effective style.
*** out of ****