At a little under three hours, The Good Shepherd isn't exactly the perfect film to watch in a movie theater. Aside from its running time, the pace is somewhat slow, the characters often whisper to one another, the timeline jumps back and forth -- between the late 1940's and the early 1960's -- on several occasions, and most of the dialogue consists of CIA code-speak. That said, it's definitely a fun film to figure out. And, now that it's available on DVD, folks can settle down in the comfort of their own living rooms, and pause or rewind as needed. Trust me, if you miss even the tiniest line of dialogue, there's a good chance you'll need to go back. And then back again. Yup, this one's a thinker.
Essentially, the film is a character study -- it spans twenty years in the life of Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), one of the first members of a newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency (or CIA). When we begin, it's 1961 and Edward is one of the key players involved in a little plan to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro (later referred to as the Bay of Pigs invasion) -- a plan that would ultimately backfire on Edward due to a mysterious intelligence leak. When a photograph winds up underneath Edward's door, along with a taped conversation that may or may not reveal who was behind the leak, Edward and his team pick apart both picture and tape piece by piece until, eventually, it reveals a truth no one (including the audience) was ready for.