Wandering around the movie-loving parts of the web today, once can see that the test screenings have started for The Good Shepherd, Robert De Niro's first official stab at directing since 1992's A Bronx Tale. In case you haven't been breathlessly following every step of its development, the film is a drama about the CIA's early history, presented "through the prism of one man's life." Anyway, as usual, a couple of reviews of the early cut have shown up at AICN. And, also as usual, the reactions are pretty much diametrically opposed to one another: star Matt Damon is either a talentless hack or "one of our cinema's greatest actors" (mmm ... hyperbole), while the movie itself is either irredeemably boring or soon to be "the Godfather [of] ... CIA [stories]." One thing the writers do agree on, however, is that, clocking in at over three hours, the thing is way, way too long. In addition, they both find that its non-linear storytelling and copious subplots get confusing at times, and need to be cleaned up. Since the movie doesn't come out until December, though, there's no need to panic. De Niro, editor Tariq Anwar, and the rest of the monkeys at Universal have a lot of time to whip it into the Oscar-worthy shape the release date indicates they're anticipating.

Obligatory note of the obvious (the "WARNING: Contents hot!" on our proverbial coffee cup of blogging, if you will): the reviews contain spoilers.
categories Cinematical