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REEL FANS:Driven by performance

January 26, 2007

EDITOR'S NOTE: A Daily Pilot staffer went to the Edwards Big Newport to get moviegoers' opinions of "The Good Shepherd," starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, and Robert DeNiro. DeNiro also directed the movie.

The formation of the Office of Strategic Services, predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency, is the backdrop for this drama about good versus evil, loyalty, betrayal and "family values."

Edward Wilson (Damon) is a Yale graduate, member of the Skull and Bones Society, and a moral and patriotic citizen when he is recruited for a position the organization being formed to protect the United States as it enters the Cold War.

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Wilson's sacrifices for his country alienate his wife (Jolie) and son. As he becomes more and more entrenched in the secret life he's forced to lead, he realizes that no one can be trusted, and his own conscience and ideals are called into question and ultimately challenged.

"I t was about what I expected, because I had read quite a bit about it. I thought Matt Damon did an incredible job acting — it was a little slower than I thought it was going to be, but the end was a good payoff. They [the actors] were all great. DeNiro was fun to watch — he always is — and I understand that he's an incredible director, so it was interesting to see what he did with Matt Damon. You had to pay attention, but I followed the story fine. I'd give Matt a big A — all the acting was great, it was just slow."

  • Grade: A-

    PRISCILLA RIGGS REINHARDT

    Costa Mesa

    "I t wasn't what I expected — I thought it was a little bit dry. I was expecting a little more action, but the acting was tremendous in it. I thought it started to get a little lengthy, but it was OK. It was a good story, and I'm glad I saw it, but it wasn't one of my favorites."

  • Grade: B

    JOHN REINHARDT

    Costa Mesa

    "I liked it. I thought the acting was great — I thought the cast was phenomenal. I loved that there were a lot of big-name actors in it.

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