Der gute Hirte (The Good Shepherd)
U.S.A. 2006

Opening 15 Feb 2007

Directed by: Robert De Niro
Writing credits: Eric Roth
Principal actors: Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Tammy Blanchard, Billy Crudup

This is Robert De Niro’s second attempted at directing a film. It took him nine years to prepare and organize it. The story line captures thirty years of the CIA seen through the career of one agent named Edward (Matt Damon). It begins with an elite student getting picked by the bones men as a man with certain talents. His wife Margaret (Angelina Jolie) traps him by getting pregnant after a one-night stand, ruining his chances of being with the only woman he loves. He then begins a rootless career that leads him all over the world but lacks the suspense of a true spy film. There are no mysteries to be unravelled since all the answers are given to the audience and then later executed.

When the war finally ends, he returns home, where his wife and son attempt to integrate him into family life but there are too many secrets and the distance is too great. Their family becomes even more dysfunctional and disjointed and no one seems to talk; only ears to the walls and misinterpreted thoughts evolve. The ex-girlfriend reappears and naturally the big question is: how could Matt Damon’s character successfully resist the charm and beauty of Angelina Jolie’s character. Since De Niro wants to fill in the rest of the CIA history it looks like there will be at least two sequels on this subject but hopefully he won’t take as long in setting up the next films. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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