Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) [R] ***

What could have been an interesting and informative story about the history, techniques and accomplishments of remote viewing has been reduced to a darkly comedic George Clooney star vehicle in The Men Who Stare at Goats. Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is a journalist who decides to go to Iraq following the breakup of his marriage. While in Kuwait City he meets Lyn Cassady (Clooney) who reveals that he is a psychic warrior, trained by the military to project his consciousness remotely for the purpose of gathering military intelligence.

Lyn and Bob embark on a wild adventure in Iraq, an adventure that takes them to a secret military base where psychological warfare techniques are being used. And there Bob meets Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) and Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), two other psychic warriors. The story of how the U.S. Army became interested in remote viewing (also called scientific remote viewing or technical remote viewing), how the New Earth Army came to be, and how Lyn first met Bill and Larry and got involved in the project, is told in flashback.

Some parts of the story are apparently true, but as in most historical fiction, the threads of truth are interwoven so tightly with fiction that it is hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins. If you are really interested in remote viewing, this film will do nothing to enlighten you on the subject. On the other hand, there are many intriguing resources including Remote Viewing: The Science and Theory of Nonphysical Perception by Courtney Brown, Learn Remote Viewing a course by Major Ed Dames, and the products of a company called Psi Tech

Labels: comedy, war    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 54/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=57, viewers=60)    
Wikipedia - remote viewing

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