On paper, Moneyball should not work. A film about the general manager of a baseball team building a winning side based on computer generated player analysis sounds incredibly dull, yet somehow, this film is incredibly compelling.
Veering away from the tired and clichéd telling of the underdog story , Moneyball tells the tale of Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics’ attempts to win the league, despite their tiny budget in comparison to major teams such as the New York Yankees. The plot is simple, following the endeavours of Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane to create a winning side with very little support from his colleagues. Taking Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) under his wing in a decision that turns the world of baseball upside down, Beane risks his career and his reputation, as well as his relationship with team coach Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
Jonah Hill is excellent in this entirely unexpected role. A seasoned comic actor, Hill has previously shone in films such as Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and really excels in his first major ‘serious’ role. Pitt is also impressive, juggling the roles of father, manager and businessman with a fervour that befits such a troubled character.
Kerris Dorsey also shines as Beane’s daughter, Casey, who is astonishing considering her age, especially with her performance of the song ‘The Show’ by Australian songstress Lenka, a track the character could have written herself based on the maturity and class Dorsey brings to her relatively minor role.
Oddly fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyable, the simplicity and obscurity of the plot makes this a truly enthralling watch. From someone who has never watched a game of baseball, let alone heard of Billy Beane, this really is worth a watch.