|Production country:||USA 2011|
|Running time:||Approx. 133 min.|
Sports films generally have a rather hard time in Germany. If then a typical American sport like baseball is the focus of the story, this further reduces the chances of success. But The Art of Winning - Moneyball is a good example that one should definitely open up to such films, even if knowledge or even interest in the sport is lacking. For the latest work of Capote director Bennett Miller offers just not only an interesting look behind the scenes of the baseball circus, but also quite great entertainment of the more intelligent kind.
Based on true events, the story of Billy Bane (Brad Pitt), who was once a great hope on the baseball field itself, but ultimately failed because of his own high expectations. Now Billy works as a manager for the Oakland A`s, who he is supposed to rescue from their financial woes and the failures that come with it. But all attempts to buy capable players are thwarted by the much richer teams. But Billy does not let himself be sidelined so quickly. Together with inexperienced Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), he wants to test a theory that players are selected based on computer statistics rather than their market value. In theory, they could assemble a winning team from all the players who are either injured, too old, or otherwise misfits. Against all reason and the will of the field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Billy and Peter put their plan into action - initially with disastrous consequences. But unlike on the field, Peter doesn't want to give up so easily behind the scenes.
While The Art of Winning - Moneyball is about the American baseball league, what the film actually shows can easily be applied to other sports in other countries. The way players are gambled with, traded and sold with tactics and how their market value is determined is not a purely American phenomenon. But it simply wouldn't do justice to Bennett Miller's direction and Steven Zaillian's (Schindler's List) and Aaron Sorkin's (The Social Network) great screenplay to think of Moneyball as just a sports movie. Rather, the film is a story about values and appreciation, not only on a professional level, but most especially on a personal level. It's about discovering and promoting a person's true worth. And about believing in one's own strengths. Because only who succeeds in that, has actually understood the art of winning.
While the script seems to be crammed with great dialogues, it was now up to the actors to transfer them adequately to the screen. And the great ensemble really succeeded impressively. Especially Brad Pitt, who seems to stuff something to eat or drink into his mouth in every scene, is just great as a little cocky stubborn guy who tries to silence his inner demons with his sayings. That this earned an Oscar nomination is more than justified. The same goes for Jonah Hill, who seemed to be set on a very specific type of role after the huge success of Superbad. But here he gets to deliver a much more adult performance that, while also bearing comedic traits, also reveals a lot of acting talent. But also supporting actors like a bald Philip Seymour Hoffman or Chris Pratt, known from series like Everwood, make the film a real home run in terms of acting.
The Art of Winning - Moneyball is entertainment cinema with brains, a drama with realsatirical features carried by dialogues and the actors, which once again proves that Hollywood can be much better than its reputation. Absolutely worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp