I have to agree with Peter Travers’ review of The Good Shephard. The movie is not a complete failure: it’s beautifully made, and beautifully acted. Unfortunately, it is just not well-written.
We go through three hours of meeting character after character, in different time periods, sometimes the same character appears twice with different names (due to double-agentry), and at the end of it all you feel that the only character who got a bit of development was the leading one, Matt Damon’s, who hardly spoke a word throughout the movie.
I tried hard to like this movie, I really did. But I think it’s a crime to employ this much acting and cinematography talent, and end up with a movie that says little else about life inside the CIA but the spy cliche, “trust no one.” The movie is full of visually memorable scenes, but absolutely no memorable dialogue.
The movie should have been more focused, had less characters, and covered less ground. DeNiro: either you make a seven hour epic, or you make a Hollywood two hour film. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, I’m afraid.